Saving the lives of women and children at birth
The Leyaata Ane Project is an expansion of GRID and NEA’s successful 2011-2014 Leyaata (“Rescue Us”) Project. In that earlier project, we saw newborn death rates in 80 communities plummet through simple, community-based activities. In the Leyaata Ane Project, we are extending those same core activities to include 160 communities … which means that twice as many mothers and babies will be helped. And based on what we learned in the the first project, we’re doing a few extra things in this project so that results will be even stronger.
GRID and NEA gratefully acknowledge the Government of Canada’s contribution of $1.9 million towards this Project.
What We’re Doing
Supporting Health Workers
The challenge: Health workers in Ghana face many frustrations. They work long hours in a difficult environment. They are often faced with medical situations that they are not prepared to respond to, either because they don’t have the updated skills or because they don’t have the simple equipment.
The response: We are training local health workers in skills that will allow them to provide excellent care around birth, and we’re giving them simple equipment needed to do so.
Results so far: In 2016, 53 health workers were trained to provide safe care to mothers at childbirth and to resuscitate non-breathing infants at birth. They have since saved the lives of over 670 babies.
Enabling Women to Choose Safe Childbirth
The challenge: Women in the Project area have traditionally given birth at home without a trained attendant. Some don’t know about the risks of a home birth or the options for a safe facility delivery. For others, family and cultural dynamics mean that they may not choose where they can have their baby. And even when a woman chooses a safe childbirth at a clinic, she may not have the money to follow through on that decision.
The response: We have trained community health volunteers to visit pregnant women and their families twice before birth. They educate the whole family about the benefits safe childbirth. Women are taught how to save for birth and receive a susu box (a type of local piggy bank) so they can put the training into practice.
Results so far: In 2016, three out of every four women have decided to have their baby at a facility … and were able to follow through on that decision. Women say that learning how to save money for something important like childbirth has changed their families’ lives, and they have plans to save for other major events.
Caring for Newborns
The challenge: In the Project area, newborn death rates were very high (about 45 out of 1000 newborns died before they were one month old). The first week of life is the time of greatest risk.
The response: We’ve trained community health volunteers to visit newborns three times in the first week of life. The volunteer weighs the baby and takes his or her temperature, monitoring for signs of illness. If a baby is in distress in any way, the volunteer refers the baby and parents to the nearest health facility.
Results so far: In 2016, newborn mortality rates fell to about 7/1000. Put another way, about 125 babies born in 2016 are alive today because of these activities.
Helping Adolescents Protect their Health
The challenge: In the project area, adolescents face serious pressure to become sexually active early in life. Health workers are alarmed at the increase in teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions to terminate those pregnancies.
The response: Project staff are visiting schools to listen to adolescents about the pressures that they face and to provide them with information about safeguarding their health.
Results so far: In 2016, over three thousand boys and girls participated in reproductive health education sessions and have shared about the challenges they have. Stay tuned … we have high hopes that this generation will be rescued from the threats of STDs and unplanned pregnancy.