- On August 12, 2020
Listen To The Story
By: DCMC (Christabel Osei-Boateng and Gabby Dakudedzi)
August 12, 2020
One of the far-reaching effects of Coronavirus disease has been on maternal and child healthcare services, especially in rural communities. According to a report by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), some 27% of children scheduled for vaccination since March 16, 2020, missed it due to COVID-19 related reasons.
Information from some health facilities and community members in the Greater Accra region corroborates the GSS report. For example, Child Welfare Clinics (CWC) in rural Shai Osudoku, has been disrupted and attendance for CWC has reduced. Lily Sackitey, a nurse at the Kasunya CHPS, said that in May, clients refused to turn up at the outreach center in Lubuse on grounds of getting COVID-19 infection. As a result, Lily and her team, are now educating and encouraging nursing mothers to attend CWC while observing enhanced protocols, including wearing of face masks and complying with the social distancing rule.
The situation in Agortor is not different. The facility has discontinued home visits, but outreach services within the catchment areas of the CHPS facility are in session. Children aged 9 and 18 months, however, are expected to report to the facility for vaccines to be administered. To reduce overcrowding and to ensure the safety of clients, the Kasunya clinic has developed schedules for clients who attend the facility in turns.
Some expectant mothers have also been skeptical about accessing health services since the outbreak of COVID-19. Christabel Osei-Boateng, P4H focal person in LaNkwantanang Madina Municipality, reports, for example, that women residing in the municipality are expressing fear and anxiety about seeking health care at the Madina Polyclinic. Their fears stem from the widespread rumor that the area is a ‘hotspot’ for the coronavirus disease.
“My desire of visiting the health facility for Antenatal care services has been minimized since Ghana confirmed its first two cases of the Coronavirus. I have been concerned about how fast it is spreading, and I am scared of contracting the virus,” said Adowa Boateng.
She said her fears, however, is now been allayed due to some measures put in place at the Madina Polyclinic, allowing only 30 expectant mothers on specific appointments dates, with physical distancing protocols enforced.
Vivian, a mother of a month-old baby, also noted that visiting the facility has always been a difficult decision as she is not sure of the status of other clients coming for healthcare services.
“I have always lived in fear after visiting the facility because many other people come here to access services. I feel ease only after two weeks when I don’t experience any of the major symptoms of the virus,” she said.
Therefore, the need for health workers to step education to allay the fears of mothers and pregnant women, in particular, cannot be overemphasized. The emphasis on education should include demanding strict adherence to safety protocols: wearing of face masks, hand washing, and physical distancing rule. The pandemic must not, under any circumstance, limit citizens’ access to healthcare.