- On June 5, 2015
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Tampala is a deprived farming community in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region. It is one of the communities that have suffered unnecessarily in the past as far as maternal and infant mortality issues are concerned.
Some pregnant women have lost their lives in the course of exercising their inalienable rights of procreation. The limited availability of transport especially during emergency situations is preventing these women from accessing skilled routine and emergency care. Some women die as a result.
Ostensibly frustrated by these conditions, pregnant women have simply resigned to fate by engaging the services of unskilled TBAs who in many cases fail to handle complications associated with pregnancies and deliveries.
This undesirable situation compelled SEND-GHANA and its grass root partner Friends of Community Development and Advocacy Foundation (F-CODA) to organize series of community sensitization programmes to educate community members including pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and Health Volunteers on the importance of antenatal and post natal services, the roles of community members in health care delivery in general, and the need for communities to take charge and manage their own affairs. Communities including Sankana in the Nadowli-Kaleo District, Kpongo, a surburb of the Wa Municipal, Jiyiri in the Wa East District all benefitted from the sensitization.
As a result of these sensitizations and the need to halt the needless death of pregnant women in the community, members of Tampala agreed that each household would contribute an amount of one Ghana cedis towards the establishment and running of a Community Emergency Transport System (CETS). The CETS makes use of a vehicle, a mini-van located at Jirapa and a tricycle stationed at Tampala for its services. The community has entered into a service agreement with the owners of these vehicles. The owners are therefore called upon at any point in time to render service to the community. The community does not pay fees to the vehicle owners. However, fuel is provided for these vehicles whenever there is an emergency. Both vehicles are used only in emergency cases however in extreme emergency situations the mini-van is used to transport pregnant women to the nearest health facility.
A bank account was subsequently opened and several women have so far benefited from this fund.
The Community-based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) compound in Tampala prior to SEND-GHANA’s advocacy was not connected to electricity. Through this same fund, community members have been able to connect electricity to the CHPS Compound.
During the first quarterly Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E) review meeting a meeting of a network of independent Focal Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Wa few days ago, Mr. Alasidongo Bulari, the Chairperson of the PM&E for Upper West Region and Chief Executive Officer of People’s Action to Win Life All-around (PAWLA), commended the community for coming up with such laudable initiative and encouraged other communities to take a cue from that.
The meeting which was to evaluate previous activities, share experiences and plan for the next quarter. In addition it was meant to strengthen the partnership between FNGOs and SEND-GHANA, give status report on activities and share results obtained during the quarter.
Bulari observed that, there was increase in commitment levels between the various local NGOs and the DCMCs to partner with SEND-GHANA to implement activities towards improving the lives of the people and empowering them to be able to demand accountability from duty bearers.
He cited Jiyiri community in the Wa East District, where the community put up a room for the security person in charge of the CHPS Compound as a response to a commitment made during community sensitization organised by SEND-GHANA and Tumu Deanery Rural Integrated Development Programme (TURIDEP).
The delivery room at the CHPS compound in Kpongo, a surburb of the Wa Municipal, was used as consultancy and delivery room. The facility didn’t have bed for the nurses.
This according to the nurses is demotivating. Through SEND policy engagements and advocacy, a delivery bed as well as bed for the nurses have been delivered by the Assembly and the nurses now work and sleep there.
Also in Sankana in the Nadowli-Kaleo District, community members have been able to mobilize to purchase electricity polls meant to connect light to the CHPS compound through SEND’s sensitizations and engagements on the need for them to own and take charge of their development issues. Community Health Committees (CHCs) whose members play very crucial role in the CHPS concept was conspicuously missing in Naro, also in the Nadowli District. SEND-GHANA in collaboration with Sustainable Integrated Development Services Centre (SIDSEC), a focal NGO have been able to set up this committee in the community which is very functional and widely acclaimed as one of vibrant Health Committees one can talk about in the district.
In the Wa Municipal Assembly, FNGOs trained breastfeeding and lactating mothers to be able to voluntarily go to the communities to be crusaders to encourage other community members and their fellow women to visit the CHPS compound, Bulari said.
He argues that, there is also recognition by duty bearers that “we exist to complement their efforts” not to take their work.
Speaking on sidelines, Adamu Munkaila, Programme Officer of SEND-GHANA for the Upper West region explained that, the quarter under review is devoted to Maternal Health and Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) which has yielded positive results through the sensitization activities.