The UWR - Wa Project
Spring 2015 - First Probe Delivered!
The Upper West Region has a land area of 8,842 square kilometres, and a population of 576,583. Public Health Professional John Bosco Bongnea oversees outreach for fifteen clinics and two hospitals in the UWR. These clinics are located in remote and and difficult to reach areas of the UWR.
North American NGO, Arrow Control Systems, is working with John and a network of Ghanian officials to bring affordable, portable ultrasound to these remote rural areas using tested and proven delivery methods. These ultrasound probes can be used for abdominal scanning, including first trimester pregnancies.
The Midwifery Training College for the Upper West Region (UWR) is within the premises of the district hospital of St. Joseph's Hospital, in Jirapa. The hospital was founded by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in 1949 as a wound-dressing centre, and converted into a hospital and adopted by the Catholic Mission of Tamale in 1953. It is now under the control of the government. St. Joseph's serves a population of 60,000 in a radius of 30 miles, and is difficult to get to due to the poor state of the roads. Two training schools originally attached to the hospital are now the Jirapa Nurses' Training College and Jirapa Midwifery Training College.
St. Joseph's Hospital in Jirapa, UWR, serves a population of 60,000 in a radius of 30 miles.
UWR records 28 maternal deaths in five months
Wa, June 09 2013, GNA – The Upper West Region has recorded 28 maternal deaths from January to May, a figure it registered during the whole of 2012. The health authorities are entertaining fears that the region could experience a similar situation that occurred in 2009 where it recorded 43 maternal deaths if decisive measures are not taken to stem the trend. The Wa Regional Hospital registered 13 maternal deaths, Nandom Hospital, 4 deaths, Lawra Hospital, 3 deaths, Jirapa Hospital, 3 deaths, Tumu Hospital, 1 death, Sissala West and Lambussie Districts 1 death each, while the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa District also registered 2 deaths.
The trend has also put fears in many pregnant women whose lives are at stake because of the inadequate health facilities and the number of health personnel to help provide quality healthcare in the facilities provided.
Many of the communities in the region are also difficult to reach due to the deplorable nature of the roads thereby causing delay in transporting pregnant women in labour to health facilities on time to receive medical attention. Dr Kofi Issah, Deputy Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, made this known at a stakeholders meeting on the “Millennial Development Goal Five Acceleration Framework” in Wa on Tuesday. The Millennial Development Goal Five seeks to improve maternal health and reduce maternal deaths by three-quarters by 2015 and improve skilled attendants to 95 per cent by 2015.
Dr Issah said the delay in recognizing danger signs, bleeding and prolonged labour among other things, were factors influencing maternal deaths in the region. Dr Issah identified poor roads, cost of transportation, inadequate vehicles and vehicles refusing to carry pregnant women with complications for fear of soiling their vehicles or the women dying in their vehicles as some of the challenges affecting maternal healthcare delivery in the region. Dr Issah called for the education of women and their spouses on the danger signs and when and where to seek care for complications, and training of other service providers in counselling skills. He suggested the development of referral systems that links health facilities to community to enhance regular interactions and community participation in the running of the facility.
There is also the need to assist communities, families and women to develop complication readiness plan, establish good links with traditional authorities, and help communities and individuals to develop financial schemes for emergencies. Dr Issah called for the improvement in road infrastructure of the region, encourage relevant organisations such as the Ghana Private Road Transport Union to assist pregnant women during emergencies and the effective use of radio communication system to improve the situation.