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Infant Mortality Ranks High In Northern Region   
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Head of Programing at Catholic Relief Service (CRS), Melissa Kreek, has indicated that despite national strides to strengthen health services, maternal and infant mortality and illness remain higher in the Northern Region than the rest of the country.

According to her, despite efforts by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), there are still gaps at the community and household levels in accessing health services due to challenges such as overcoming harmful cultural practices, poor transportation system and late referral for emergencies.

She made this known at a workshop organised by the CRS, in collaboration with the GHS and the University for Development Studies (UDS), held in Tamale on the theme: ‘Encouraging Positive Practice for Improving Child Survival (EPPICS) in the Northern Region’.

The EPPICS workshop brought together stakeholders, including government, multi and bilateral partner agencies interested in funding MCH work and local international agencies interested in implementing MCH work.

Madam Kreek stated that the programmes are designed to address inequities, support universal access to services and produce long-lasting results, adding, “We hope the workshop will provide the basic essentials that will help educate and transform lives with regards to maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition.”

The programme is a USAID-funded initiative designed to improve service delivery and overcome harmful cultural practices that pose barriers to seeking skilled healthcare for maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services.

The goal of the EPPICS project is to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Ghana, and the project combines both facility and community-based approaches reaching a target of 51,000 (27,000 women of reproductive age and 24,000 children under five) direct beneficiaries.

Community Health Officer at East Mamprusi District, Paulina Bayiweisi, told DAILY GUIDE that before the EPPICS project, the East Mamprusi District was the poorest performing district in the Northern Region in terms of maternal and child health indicators.

According to her, delivery, post-natal attendance and practising exclusive breastfeeding were very low in the community until the project was instituted. The situations, she mentioned, were due to lack of government interventions to carry out activities in the districts, inadequate staff, among others.

“The EPPICS project provided us with modified tricycle motorbikes where personnel were trained and positioned to serve as link providers and referred women with their tricycle motorbikes to the facility,” she added.
Source: Daily Guide

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