TOWN THAT ABHORS CHILDBIRTH GETS SUPPORT FROM MoGCSP & UNFPA
January 12, 2019 2:36 pm
For centuries, women at Mafi-Dove in the North Tongu District in the Volta Region have endured the tortuous predicament of giving birth and accessing health care outside the town.
This is because there is a long-held traditional belief that children who are born on the land, even by mistake, will either die at birth or suffer from some mysterious diseases.
It is believed that the founder of the town, Gbesi Akiti, a hunter, declared the land ‘holy’ centuries ago and as such banned its occupants in all generations from engaging in any procreation activities, including child delivery and rearing of animals.
They are also not to bury the dead, as those activities would “bring filth onto the land.”
Consequently, residents, particularly pregnant women, had to cross the Volta Lake to Adidome, the district capital, and other neighbouring towns, to access healthcare services, including childbirth.
Touched by the plight of the community, the then Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba, engaged with the traditional leaders and the Central Tongu District.
Assembly to complete the health facility that had stalled because of the lack of funds.
The situation now has changed as a result of the completion of the clinic on the outskirts of the town, making it possible for the women to access health care nearby instead of crossing over to Adidome.
After its inauguration in April 2018, the clinic has been functional, providing basic healthcare services for more than 6,400 residents in about 40 communities in the Central, North, and South Tongu districts in the Volta Region.
However, it has been confronted with inadequate resources such as beds and medical supplies to enhance its operations.
Last Thursday, the current Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Mrs Cynthia Morrison, went to the aid of the clinic with the presentation of medical equipment and supplies valued at GH¢48,000 to the Mafi-Dove Clinic.
The equipment and supplies were funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
They included two delivery beds and a set of delivery accessories, plastic basins, sterilisers, bowls, buckets, stethoscopes and height and weighing scales.
Others are kidney dishes, dustbins, infusion stands, stretchers, wheelchair and a refrigerator.
Mrs Morrison presented the items and explained that the initiative formed part of efforts by the ministry to extend humanitarian support to deprived communities, particularly for women and children.
She observed that since the inauguration of the clinic last year, its operations had been “slow” due to the lack of adequate resources to facilitate its work, hence the reason they had supplied them with the items.
“When a woman is sick, it affects the husband, children and the economy at large. Therefore, investing in the health of women is not just beneficial but a right,” she stated.
As at the time of the visit, the clinic had recorded 31 successful deliveries since it began operating.
For her part, the Deputy Country Representative of the UNFPA, Ms Erika Goldson, said the UNFPA supported the initiative as part of efforts to contribute to a reduction in the maternal mortality rate in the country.
She, therefore, tasked the residents of the area to own the facility and observe a proper maintenance culture to ensure continuous access to quality health care.
The District Director of Health Services at the Central Tongu District, Ms Justine Sefakor Alornyo, who received the items on behalf of the clinic, expressed gratitude to the ministry and the UNFPA for “boosting the resource base of the health centre that serves thousands of residents in the area.”
She was, however, quick to appeal to them to assist the clinic to solve its staff accommodation challenges, which, she said, informed the decision of some health practitioners to refuse posting to the clinic.
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