Customary Practices Affect Quality Healthcare

Some health personnel in the Nkwanta South District of the Volta region have expressed worry over the continuous reliance on traditional and customary practices in making health decisions mostly ineffective.

Reverend Sister Georgina Quashie, Administrator of the St. Joseph’s Hospital at Nkwanta explained that many people in the area especially women would not come to health facilities to seek healthcare without the consent of their husbands.

She was addressing the people of Nkwanta at the weekend as part of an innovative educational campaign strategy aimed at improving maternal and child health in three regions of Ghana being implemented by Savana Signatures, an NGO in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service.

The Technology for Maternal and Child Health (T4MCH) project is being implemented in the Northern, Upper West and Volta regions with funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Rev. Sister Quashie said in some circumstances, patients were brought to the facility only when their conditions became worst saying “some pregnant women will take concoctions when in labour and are rushed to the hospital when the situation becomes complicated”.

She urged the people in the area to do away with traditional and customary practices that were inimical to their health to enhance healthcare delivery noting that decision making in the home should not be left in the hands of the husbands alone.

She said her outfit had been providing ante-natal and postnatal education to women using video documentaries at health facilities, audio and sms messages to client’s mobile phones all through the assistance of the T4MCH project of the Savana Signatures.

Rev. Sister Quashie said the methodology adopted had significantly improved antenatal and postnatal attendance resulting in good healthcare and urged those yet to patronise their services to avoid reliance on customary practices for quality healthcare.

Miss Sule Misiratu Borlanle, Midwife of Bonakye CHPS Zone expressed gratitude to Savana Signatures for introducing T4MCH project in their facility saying, “It has really helped us very much in sensitising our clients on antenatal and postnatal care…attendance for these services has also increased”.

She said deliveries at the facility had increased from nine deliveries in 2015 to 69 in 2016 and over 100 deliveries in 2017 stressing that many more people now preferred delivering in health facilities than traditional birth attendants.

Mr Abdul-Rashid Imoro, Programmes Manager of Savana Signatures said the T4MCH is being implemented in nine districts in 33 health facilities targeting 30,000 women and 28,000 men to reduce maternal and new born mortalities.

“The immediate outcomes of the project is to improve delivery of essential health services to pregnant women and new mothers and also to improve on the utilisation of essential health services by pregnant women and newborns”, he said explaining that the project delivers weekly sms in English to literate women and voice calls to non-literate women in their preferred language.

Mr Imoro explained that more health facilities had been included in the project to ensure many people benefited stressing that voice messaging component of the programme would be translated to include more languages.

Source: GNA