Volunteers to boost access to child/maternal health services

A scheme to actively use volunteers as front-liners, to boost access to child and maternal health services in the rural communities of the Ketu-South Municipality in the Volta Region is underway.

The plan, built around the Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) Zone concept, is under the auspices of the Korean International Development Agency (KOICA), child and maternal health improvement project in Keta Municipality, Ketu-South Municipality and Ketu-North local governing areas.

Volunteers in two batches of 40 have in the past 10 days undergone intensive residential training at Denu to activate the scheme.

David Agbokpe, Ketu-South Municipal Disease Control Officer of the Ghana Health Service told the Ghana News Agency in Denu that the volunteers were expected to be the “fluid links” between the health workers at the CHPS zones and the people in the communities.

Under the CHPS zone concept, health professionals are strategically based in communities, as first-line contacts on health issues and also as primary health care educators, working to well-rehearsed referral protocols.

Mr Agbokpe said education and management of child and maternal health, a crucial world health status indicator, is a major function of the CHPS zones.

Topics treated included conflict management, antenatal care, concerns regarding child deliveries, immunisation, family planning, nature and symptoms of diseases including malaria, anaemia, cholera and disease surveillance.

Mr Agbokpe observed that some of the fatalities in the areas of child and maternal health and epidemics recorded in the communities were out of ignorance and delays in seeking appropriate health.

He said the volunteers would work with community health management committees through to the zonal health management committees.

Mr Agbokpe said the volunteers have been given ideas of health record taking, disease surveillance and child growth charting, among others.

He said by their training the volunteers could fish out for help, a mal-growing child also a gnawing maternal case.

Mr Agbokpe observed that the volunteer scheme is not new and that in the past many of them lost interest because of low motivation.

He said KOICA under the project, is giving volunteers food packages, transport allowances, call credits, raincoats, bags, training wares among others, to sustain their interest.

KOICA is supplying equipment, staff retraining and building midwifery school at Keta as part of the programme, which runs from 2014 to 2016. GNA

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