The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has issued out one million copies of the Maternal and Child Health Record Book (MCH Record Book) to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
The assistance is through the “Project for Improving Continuum of Care for Mothers and Children through the Introduction of combined Maternal and Child Health Record Book (MCH Record Book Project)”, one of JICA’s technical cooperation projects.
The books, estimated at about GH¢3.5 million, are to improve access to quality maternal and child health and nutrition services as the country works to contain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare delivery.
The Chief Representative of the JICA Ghana Office, Mr. Araki Yasumichi, expressed gratitude to the GHS and the MoH for the strong collaboration over the years and commended them for their efforts in the National COVID-19 Response Actions for Ghana.
He said despite the challenge of the global pandemic, “JICA remains resolute with its commitment to ensure the continuum of care, especially for maternal, child health and nutrition services” as demonstrated by the donation of three folds of its annual support.
He asked for the need to ensure sustainability of the supply of the book, especially as the MCH Record Book project edged towards its closure in January 2022.
The Director-General of the GHS, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said the GHS remained committed to efforts to improve the maternal, child health and nutrition status in the country, and expressed his gratitude to the government of Japan for the support.
He emphasised the need to ensure adequate numbers of the books were available at all times to safeguard continuity and access to services in line with Ghana’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda.
He added that “the GHS, with support from the MOH, has initiated actions and put in place systems that will ensure timely procurement and sustained supply of the book”.
One such action, he said, was the engagement with the National Health Insurance Authority to print 250,000 copies of the book.
He urged corporate institutions and other stakeholders in health, including the private sector, to “come on board to support the printing of the book as Ghana forges ahead to achieve UHC”.
“GHS, MoH and JICA will continue to explore all avenues to print and distribute sufficient number of MCH Record Book for uninterrupted and sustainable delivery of quality MCH and nutrition services involving both public and private sectors,” Dr. Kuma-Aboagye added.
The MoH and the GHS developed and integrated the MCH Record Book with technical and financial support from JICA.
The book was launched by the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Samira Bawumia, in Cape Coast in March 2018.
Since the launch, the MCH Record Book has been distributed and utilised all over the country.
The MCH Record Book includes all the relevant information and data concerning the mothers’ progress during pregnancy, state of delivery, immunisation records and health check-up records for their children.
The book is designed to deliver essential MCH and nutrition messages to mothers and caregivers.
The JICA MCH Record Book Project has so far printed more than 1.5 million MCH Record Books, and supported the GHS to train more than 2,500 health workers in all 16 regions on how to use the record book to provide quality maternal and child healthcare.