To deliver a baby comes with some natural pains for many mothers in Ghana but for the mothers of the Azorebisi community in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region, these pains were often accompanied by long travels to the healthcare facilities until seven years ago.
Not only did they have to endure the pains of their kicking babies trying to come out of their wombs; they also did so while sitting on motorcycles and sometimes walking to the healthcare center where they could see health professionals to help them deliver safely.
A lot of these mothers ended up with complications due to their delays in getting to the hospitals or clinics. Some of them often died on the way and others lost their babies.
All this was because there was no access to a healthcare facility in the Azorebisi community itself and these mothers had to go to other communities or towns to see a doctor or a nurse.
These trips lasted 4 Kilometers or more, depending on the facility the mother chose to attend.
According to the Assemblyman for Azorebisi, David Aboona Atiah, the situation was more precarious during the rainy seasons.
“There is a big stream that divides our community from neighboring communities. During the rainy season, it is always difficult to transport pregnant women to the Sumbrungu Health Center which is about 4 kilometers (away)”, Atiah said.
Things changed for better for the mothers of Azorebisi when the Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) Ghana Foundation, came to the rescue in the year 2014.
MTN, through the MTN Ghana Foundation, built and commissioned an ultra-modern Community-based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) compound at the cost of GHC 180, 000 to provide access to healthcare to residents of Azorebisi.
The facility has attached; a Nurses’ Quarters, a Delivery Room, a Consulting Room, Outpatient Department, as well as Antenatal and Family Planning rooms.
Today, seven (7) years after handing over the project, the lives of residents especially pregnant women have improved.
Esther Akumpia, is a 28-year-old mother of three and a resident of Azorebisi. Her first delivery was at the Sumbrugu Health Center, a distance of about 4 kilometers from the Azorebisi community. But in the year 2018, she delivered her second baby – a boy at the Azorebisi CHPS compound.
Esther, who is a basket weaver says until the establishment of the CHPS facility in the community by MTN Ghana, they were trekking for long distances to access healthcare at nearby health facilities. But she could now heave a sigh of relief because of the facility at her own community, Azorebisi.
“Women in this community used to walk a long distance either to Bolga or Sumbrungu to deliver. But with this facility in our backyard, when I was due to deliver, I walked in here and the nurses received me well and assisted me to deliver without any complications. So, this health facility has come to reduce the suffering we were going through”, Esther said.
Another woman, Anapoka Atambire, aged 26, said she attended antennal care at the Azorebisi CHPS facility before she was referred to the Upper East Regional Hospital to deliver.
“After I delivered in Bolga and was discharged, I attended the postnatal care at this (Azorebisi) facility. We were attending antenatal care and postnatal care; walking or boarding motorbikes under the scorching sun to the Sumbrungu health center. We could have recorded miscarriages due to the unmotorable roads to other health facilities. But these fears are over now because of this CHPS compound commissioned in our community.”
Dorcas Amisah, 23-year-old lactating mother said she has had access to health services at the Azorebisi CHPS compound every time she fell sick.
“This is the only health center in our community that we can come to access healthcare for ourselves and our kids”, she said.
Untrained Traditional Birth Attendants were popular in this community because of the lack of access to trained professionals. This caused a surge in maternal mortality cases.
However, the opening of the health facility by MTN has drastically reduced this problem.
The In-charge at the Azorebisi CHPS compound, Lucy Adongo says “the women can now walk in here to deliver so there is a minimal risk to the mothers and babies”.
She said this will go a long way to help Ghana in the move towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 of universal health care by 2030.
Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah|Ghana