Bongo (U/E), May 18, GNA - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), has handed over new Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in six health centres in the Upper East Region.
Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative in Ghana, formally handed over one of the six facilities at the Bongo Soe Health Centre in the Bongo District to Dr Winful Ofosu, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services.
The project, formed as part of the Mother Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (MBFHI), a global effort to implement practices that protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
The rest of the beneficiary facilities were Anafobisi Health Centres in the Bongo District; Sumburungu and Sherigu Health Centres in the Bolgatanga Municipality; and Chiana and Kayoro Health Centres in the Kasena Nakani West District.
It would be recalled that a baseline assessment conducted in 2016 by the Navrongo Health Research Center in eight selected MBFHI implementing facilities in Upper East Region, revealed that 37.5 per cent lacked toilet facilities, more than 60 per cent lacked adequate water supply and hand washing facilities for clients in the maternity ward.
Madam Dufay said the WASH facilities were very much needed because in health centres where women come to deliver babies; without water it was very difficult for the health staff to provide adequate healthcare.
She noted that the commissioning of the six WASH facilities were very timely as the world marked the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
She said the celebration which was held in Tamale in the Northern Region looked at the gaps, the situation of children, what needs to be done and a call to action.
“The rights to health is one of those rights that we want to see fulfill. And the rights to WASH are critical in ensuring adequate health,” she said.
She expressed gratitude to the BMGF for sponsoring the project; stating that: “we hope there would be further expansion”.
She also called on the Government to allocate budget resources to continue expanding on these important critical services.
She said beyond the six WASH facilities in six health centres, UNICEF had been able to work with three hospitals, 21 health centres and 82 community based health facilities in four districts in the Upper East Region.
Dr Ofosu said in the course of the MBFHI project implementation, one important challenge that threatened the provision of quality healthcare was non-availability of safe running water for hygiene in some of the implementing facilities.
“It is within this context that it became necessary to provide functional WASH facilities to these health institutions to facilitate delivery of quality healthcare services,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to UNICEF and the BMGF for providing the six WASH facilities.
Mr John Aduakye, Regional Director, Community Water and Sanitation Agency expressed gratitude to UNICEF for given them the opportunity to execute the project.
Mr Osman Kere Mumuni, WASH Specialist at the UNICEF Office in Tamale in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said the water closet toilets were specially designed with a shower and directly connected to maternity units to enable easy access and enhance the privacy of the clients.
He said the WASH facilities would go a long way to improve staff motivation and increased their capacity to provide dignified and respectful care to mothers and newborns and enhanced the experience of care in the health centers.
Dr Pricilla Wobil, Health and Nutritionist Specialist of the UNICEF Tamale Office told the GNA that UNICEF partnered with the BMGF to support three countries (Ghana, Bangladesh and Tanzania) to implement a maternal and newborn care and breastfeeding quality improvement programme.
She said the programme also known as the MBFHI was implemented for a period of three years (2016 - 2018).
Mr Atampugre John-Bosco, a Physician Assistant, Bongo Soe Sub-District Leader of the Ghana Health Service, said the provision of the WASH facilities would go a long way to enhance healthcare delivery.
Mr Dominic Adongo, an opinion leader in Bongo Soe lauded UNICEF for coming to their aid.