A three-year project to revitalise and strengthen private maternity homes to expand access to quality, maternal, newborn and child health services in rural underserved areas of Ghana has ended.
Private maternity homes have historically been an important provider of maternal, newborn and child health services in rural areas but the sector has experienced a steady decline over the past decade, with many of the homes closing down or reducing services as ageing private midwives have retired or passed away.
The project, titled, ‘Saving Maternity Homes in Ghana’ was, therefore, designed to address some of the challenges facing private maternity homes and to ensure continued access to services in rural areas by introducing ownership or management transformations.
It was implemented in the Northern, Volta, Western, Central, Eastern and Brong Ahafo regions by Banyan Global in partnership with the Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Innovate For Health project.
One of the maternity homes
Specifically, the project developed the capacity of the private maternity homes in business continuity planning and clinical service provision.
It also facilitated ‘transformations’ involving private maternity homes acquiring new owners, managers or skilled personnel.
The home owners were also supported to leverage grant financing to improve quality and expand service delivery.
Speaking at a ‘learning event’ of the project in Accra, Ms Akua Kwateng-Addo, Health Office Director of USAID, Ghana said between 2009 and 2014, as many as 100 private maternity homes closed down and many other reduced capacity.
She noted that for many people who were a long way from health centres, private maternity homes offer first line care.
Ms Kwateng-Addo said 22 private midwives completed a successful transformation during the project period, adding that they were trained to be savvy managers so that their businesses would thrive.
The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Banyan Global, Ms Meaghan Smith, complimented all the people, who worked on the project to achieve results, for their commitment.
She further lauded the midwives for taking the risk to try something new and for their dedication in bringing new lives into the world.
The president of the GRMA, Ms Netta Ackon, observed that very often private maternity homes were critical in underserved communities but owners very often struggled to keep the business running due to inadequate funding .
She called for more support to increase the number of private maternity homes to save lives.
Four of private maternity home owners shared how beneficial the project had been for their businesses.
Ms Augustina Ahiaku of the Blessed Family Maternity Home in the Brong Ahafo Region indicated that the project supported her to expand her staff and now she had the required personnel , resulting in the smooth running of her business.