Prioritise maternal mental healthcare – Stakeholders

Mr Adam DokuruguYahaya,

Mr Adam DokuruguYahaya,

Stakeholders at a forum held in Bolgatanga have appealed to government to ensure that maternal mental healthcare is mainstreamed into the country’s health systems.

The stakeholders who included civil society organisations, the Department of Social Welfare, person with disabilities, the youth and women groups, among others, stated that many pregnant women either experience some form of depression or mental disorder during pregnancy or delivery.

They said there were many of such women who mostly attempted committing suicides, and underscored the need for the government to ensure that the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service integrated maternal mental healthcare into the main health delivery system.

Mr Adam DokuruguYahaya, Programmes Manager of Basic Needs Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), explained that the forum formed part of a new project dubbed, “Maternal Mental Health (MMH)”, being implemented by Basic Needs Ghana with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom (UK).

The Programmes Manager said it was being implemented in five regions in the country to improve on maternal mental health delivery, and mentioned the beneficiary regions as Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong-Ahafo and the Greater Accra.

He said the project, which would cover 74 districts across the five regions, was being implemented in 15 municipalities and districts in the Upper East Region, aimed at enhancing MMH of the vulnerable pregnant women and mothers, and their children in Ghana to realise their maternal and child healthcare needs.

Mr Yahaya indicated that the project would target about 11,070 people, representing 75 per cent of women and girls, to be delivered by skilled attendants at health facilities, 400 midwives, 100 traditional birth attendants and 800 community health nurses, who would be trained in basic MMH care to enable them screen and treat maternal mood disorders.

Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama,  Executive Director of the Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment-Ghana (RISE-Ghana), a Bolgatanga based NGO, said the project had come at the right time, noting that majority of adolescent girls in Ghana were    becoming  mentally depressed, and stressed that the implementation of the project  would contribute to curbing the suicide phenomena of some adolescent pregnant  girls.

He underscored the need for civil society organisationsacross the country to join forces to ensure that the health systems in Ghana integrate MMH  into the healthcare system.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

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