A Non-Governmental Organisation, RISEGhana, has expressed concern about nursing mothers who drop local gin (akpeteshie) into the ears of their babies with the intention of treating fluid discharge from their ears
The practice, according to the organisation, was common in many communities in the Kasena Nankana West District in the Upper East region.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Executive Director of RISE-Ghana, Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, cautioned the mothers to desist from the practice which he said was common in more than 88 communities in the district.
He said the practice exposed the babies to infections and could also result in their death.
He said the NGO identified the practice during a series of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) meetings and community durbars in the communities as part of the Mother and Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (MBFHI) project.
Advocacy meetings Mr Kariama said advocacy meetings were organised with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF-Ghana and the Ghana Health Service under the MBFHI project, as outlined in the Ghana National Newborn Strategy and Action Plan project.
The MBFHI programme uses interventions such as advocacy and focus group discussions to ensure increased demand for ante-natal and post-natal services, early initiation to breastfeeding within 30 minutes after birth, exclusive breastfeeding and promoting basic new-born care, among others.
Mr Kariama explained that the practice had been identified as a major risk factor for newborn and child mortality, adding that the risks associated with the practice was communicated to over 1,760 new mothers and Women in Fertility Age (WIFA) to encourage them to stop it.
He said RISE-Ghana would continue to work with the various actors and stakeholders in the communities to ensure that the negative practices that affected the health of babies and infants were discouraged.
When contacted, a source at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said some of the negative practices required intensive sensitisation programmes to effect behaviour change
The source said the ear was designed for certain functions and it was dangerous to drop or insert any substance in it without medical direction.
He said the GHS had organised various sensitisation programmes to educate mothers to desist from the practice.