Representatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have undertaken a four-day tour of the Upper West Region (UWR) to inspect projects, including the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects sponsored by the Canadian Government in the region.
As of now, the Canadian Government, through UNICEF, has supported 145 educational institutions and eight health facilities with WASH materials such as boreholes fitted with hand pumps and toilet blocks in the region.
During the visit, the Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Giovanni Favilli, on behalf of the Italian National Committee for UNICEF (Italian NatCom), presented neonatal management equipment for the refurbishment of two health institutions in the UWR.
The equipment, which was worth 200,000 euros and was presented to the Tumu Government and Wa Regional hospitals, included monitors, oxygen concentrators, infusion pumps, cots, scales, resuscitators, suctions, feeding tubes, photo therapy units, nifty feeding cups and meters.
They were purchased from the donation by a unanimous Italian philanthropist and they are to refurbish the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) of the two institutions and mitigate the high prevalence rate of maternal and neonatal mortality in the region.
Presenting the items on behalf of Italian NatCom, Mr Favilli said realising the health needs of the people, they decided to make the donation to assist in the delivery of quality health care in the area.
The equipment is estimated to benefit a total of 21,316 patients, particularly mothers and their newborn babies.
During the visit, the UNICEF Country Representative, Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, took the opportunity to present WASH materials to some schools, including the Ga D/A Basic School, Varimpare Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) Compound and later visited Eribieteng, a farming community in the Wa West District.
In her interactions with the various communities, Ms Dufay urged parents to take family planning seriously to ensure that they had the number of children that they could adequately cater for.
She further advised them to be gender-conscious by giving equal treatment to their children, especially through education.
Ms Dufay also asked them not to neglect their disabled children since they also had inherent potentials which could be developed for their benefit and that of the nation.
Receiving the equipment for the two health institutions, the Regional Director of Health Service, Dr Joseph Teye Nuertey, commended the philanthropists for their selfless service to humanity and said the donation had come at the right time.
He promised that the health workers would be trained to use the equipment efficiently to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in the region.
A durbar was held at Varimpare to hand over a WASH facility to the CHPS Compound at the weekend, as part of the visit.
The WASH facility, comprising an institutional latrine and a borehole fitted with a hand pump valued at GH¢50,000, was funded by the government of Canada. As of now, the Canadian government through UNICEF, has funded eight health facilities with WASH projects in the region.
According to statistics, the UWR records high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality cases in the country, with the Sissala areas being the worst affected.
It has inadequate critical staff, eight health centres and 44 CHPS compounds, but most of these facilities have challenges that affect health care in the area.
The facilities do not have any ambulance, and that affects the referral of medical emergencies to the regional capital in Wa.
There is also the issue of bad roads that affect the transportation of patients; and the inadequate supply of water in both the major towns and small communities also affect healthcare delivery.