The Mobile for Access Project has recorded impressive responses from beneficiaries in Ghana. The project received a major boost in April 2015 when Savana Signatures, the implementing organization presented Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment to five health facilities to aid activities of the project.
The Mobile 4 Access programmes are two mobile-based technology projects referred to as Technology for Maternal Health (T4MH) and Sexual Health Education Plus (SHE+). These projects have been running since in 2011. Both projects are aimed among other things at complementing government’s efforts at reducing maternal and infant mortality and morbidity and improving sexual lifestyle of young people in Ghana.
The projects make innovative use of mobile messaging technology to disseminate vital maternal health information and sexual and reproductive health information to under-served expectant mothers in hard-to-reach communities and young people in Ghana.
The messages are tailor-made for T4MH subscribers and based on the gestation periods while SHE+ messages are packaged with options for young people to select messages that best suit their sexual health conditions.
The equipment that was presented include laptop computers, projectors, projector screens, smart phones and power point presentation pointers to aid health facilities to effectively disseminate essential maternal health information to improve the health of expectant mothers in rural communities.
The health facilities that took delivery of ICT equipment include Gushiegu District Hospital, Salaga District Hospital, Daboya Polyclinic, Bimbilla District Hospital and Buipe Health Centre. Other health facilities that have already benefited from the programme are; Tamale Teaching Hospital, Tamale West Hospital, Tamale Central Hospital, Kings Medical Centre, Yendi Municipal Hospital and Savelugu Municipal Hospital.
As at September 2015, 1,142 expectant mothers have already subscribed to and are receiving vital maternal health information via Interactive Voice Responses (IVRs). “Since the inception of this project we have been recording high patronages of women in our Ante-Natal Care (ANC). The numbers of Out Patient Department (OPD) cases have also increased”, Azumah, a nurse in charge of Savelugu ANC Center said.
Azumah has therefore recommended T4MH to be adopted by health facilities across the country. This is to enable women in other parts of the country to access essential health information to improve on their health and that of their newborn and unborn babies.
The nurse said, Savelugu Hospital has recorded an increase in ANC attendance but saw a reduction of maternal deaths and pregnancy related complications. She believes T4MH has contributed to these results.
Presenting the ICT equipment to officials of Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Executive Director of Savana Signatures, John Stephen Agbenyo, was optimistic T4MH would contribute immensely not only to increasing access to vital maternal health information, but would also contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity. “The result of the implementation of M4A has been positive with high patronage, this reiterates our belief that women should not die giving birth or our young people suffer in silence from sexual health conditions”, he added.
“The project reports indicate overwhelming increment in regular ANC attendance rate by 89 per cent, improved skilled deliveries by 63 per cent and improved maternal health information to expectant mothers.
This success trend informed the decision of Savana Signatures to expand the project to cover more districts with more easy-to-understand vital maternal health information accessible to expectant mothers in rural areas of the country.
This, he said was to help reduce maternal deaths. SHE+ makes sexual and reproductive health rights information accessible to Ghanaian youth and helps in the improvement of their sexual and reproductive health and rights.