The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says it would do more to empower community health nurses across the country towards community mobilisation to reduce maternal and infant mortalities.

The service says it hopes to surmount challenges that leave many children and mothers dying despite the interventions rolled out by government to save them.

Speaking on behalf of the GHS Director-General at the conference of Community Health Nurses at Elmina, Central Regional Director of Health, Dr Akosua Sarpong indicated, the community health nurses hold the key to save the lives of mothers and children in the hard-to-reach areas of the country.

GHS to empower community health nurses to help reduce maternal and infant mortality

Dr Sarpong indicated that these nurses are mostly the ones that meet critical situations in the rural areas, crossing rivers, improvising and fashioning out innovations to save lives.

She expressed worry about why several interventions rolled out by government do not seem to yield the needed results.

“The important question your conference should seek to answers to are why the mothers and children are dying despite all the interventions put in place and why the no maternal and child health interventions by the government and all our stakeholders do not seem to achieve the desired results,” she grieved.

The Regional Health Director is convinced that empowering community health nurses to mobilise communities is key to surmounting the challenges.

GHS to empower community health nurses to help reduce maternal and infant mortality

“You are better placed to know the women and children in your communities. We know that you are even keeping pregnancy registers to know all your pregnant women in your communities, follow them, identify those at risk and refer them to prompt care,” she stated.

The Regional Director enumerated some of the interventions put in place by the service in the Central Region to improve health outcomes, especially, maternal delivery.

She says since January, 2020, the Central Region has refocused on maternal health strategies trying to identify the key issues and most important action areas to pursue to reduce, maternal, neo-natal and still births.

“We have divided the region into zones and put in place zonal teams led by obstetrician gynecologist specialists o monitor, supervise and train service providers on maternal issues and take steps to audit all deaths occurring within the zone,” she said.

GHS to empower community health nurses to help reduce maternal and infant mortality

The Community Health Nurses Association of Ghana says they suffer neglect from the employers as they work in the hard-to-reach areas of the country.

They complain many of their colleagues have been through torture and sometimes being raped but justice has eluded them.

National President of the Association, Esther Bamfo wants more support for the nurses as they work to improve health outcomes.

“We break backs to save lives but our efforts are not recognized. Crossing rivers, paddling canoes, riding motors and bicycles in the hard-to-reach areas just to save lives but we lack the support and resources,” she averred.

The Association she says is demanding justice on some of their members who were allegedly murdered and raped but the cases have stalled.

President of the Ghana Registered Nurses Association, Perpetual Ofori Ampofo, singled the community health nurses for praise as they are the ones that accept postings to the country’s rural and hard-to-reach areas.