Article written

  • on 30.04.2014
  • at 02:30 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Villages in Ghana that No Longer Have Child Deaths to Record 0

Zandua – Zainab Abubakar saves children’s lives. A few years ago she was just an ordinary woman with no medical training living in rural Kpilo in Ghana’s Northern Region.

Here the nearest medical clinic is a 12-km walk away and serves the 20 to 40 communities within this electoral area. Across Northern Region, less than 10 percent of communities have a local clinic. However, in the region’s capital, Tamale, 19.4 percent of communities have local clinics.

Now, instead of making the long journey to a crowded health centre, mothers bring their sick children to Abubakar. When she sees children with symptoms of sweating, weakness and a high temperature she’s able to differentiate between a case of pneumonia and malaria. She’s also able to correctly treat and provide medication for these illnesses.

“In a situation like that I bathe the child and then I dissolve one tablet of amodiaquine in a small clean cup and give it to the child to drink,” Abubakar tells IPS.

She then provides the mother with medication. “In order that the medication is administered at the right time, I do a follow-up to ensure that the child is given the drug,” she adds.

Abubakar is one of 16,500 community-based volunteers (CBVs) trained by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to manage common childhood diseases in their communities which lack access to healthcare facilities. GHS also supplies them with medication to treat these illnesses. While medication is free, most people pay about 20 cents as a token payment for the drug administered.

This rural health initiative, called the Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM), is supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

Since 2007, volunteers from the four provinces here that have limited healthcare facilities — Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Central Regions — have been trained to reduce the high rate of child mortality. Pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria account for two out of five child mortality cases.

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By Albert Oppong-Ansah Ips Africa 

Photo credit: Albert Oppong-Ansah 

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