The hard to reach area is where my services are most needed says Ms. Jane Anyiusah who emerged the best midwife from the Northern Region

16 May 2017
I wanted to give back to society what was invested in me. That is where my services are most needed and this was what sent me requesting to be posted to this hard-to -reach community Zandua, a rural community in Kamiga District to the surprise of my colleagues and my district director. These were the words of the 32 year old staff midwife Ms. Jane Anyiusah who emerged as the best midwife from the Northern Region. The award was conferred on her by the Ministry of Health with support from UNFPA at the 2017 International Day of the Midwife which was commemorated in Tamale on the 5th of May 2017. In all fourteen midwives including Jane were awarded for their hard work and dedication. A very competitive criteria was used for their selection and acknowledgement.
 
Ms Anyiusah, was posted to the Karaga District of the Northern Region after her training as a Community Health Nurse, in 2006. She faithfully served under challenging conditions peculiar to most deprived communities in the north and following her passion for maternal and child health improvement, she enrolled for training as a midwife and was subsequently posted by the Kamiga District Health Administration to Zandua Community Health Planning Services (CHPS) as a Staff Midwife at her own request. A request that does not usually happen.  The CHPS zone was a place where the District Director had a challenge sustaining staff particularly female staff.  
 
Jane’s presence assured the community of availability of midwifery services twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week for the first 6 months. She then lobbied the  traditional  and  opinion  leaders  to ban  home  deliveries  in  the  catchment area. She upheld that the high maternal mortality and morbidity rates of the district were partly due to the high rate of home deliveries in the area. Five communities were sampled and durbars held in those communities through the chiefs and opinion leaders, and information was provided to them. They were also assured of Jane’s presence and the availability of friendly midwifery services to them every minute, every day and every week. Her request to ban home deliveries in those communities received approval from the chiefs which was subsequently implemented with fines for families who violated the ban. This noble innovation saw an increase in skilled delivery which in turn contributed to the reduction of home deliveries and hence improving maternal health in the district.
Speaking at the event, the acting Representative of UNFPA Ms. Erika Goldson said preventing maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities and empowering women to make informed, healthy choices and exercise their sexual and reproductive rights is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Ms. Goldson added, that to make this happen, there is the need to expand midwifery programmes, maintaining the highest global standards, and promote an enabling environment for midwives to effectively serve the needs of women and their families.
 
Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the First Lady Mrs. Rebecca Akuffo Addo, Hon Otiko Djaba the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection said midwives were at the center of maternal mortality reduction although different people have different roles to play. “At the facility level, you are the first point of contact, a very critical role. Keep the midwifery profession high on the agenda of Ghana” she pleaded.
In a joint message issued by the Presidents of the two Midwifery associations in Ghana, Mrs Joyce Jetuah of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) and Hajia Ridhwana Agyei of the National Association of Registered Midwives (NARM)  asked their members  to remain caring and accountable as that is part of the ethics, that a midwife is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional when she or he  works in partnership with women to give the necessary support during pregnancy, labour and postpartum including care for the newborn. There were solidarity messages from Christian Health Association of Ghana, the Ghana Health Service and Nurses and Midwife’s council.