by Alex Osei-Boateng
ACCRA, July 6 (Xinhua) -- A new learning approach introduced into Ghana is saving the lives of newborn babies in four regions of the country, a study said on Thursday.
The study, led by Jhpiego, a non-profit health organization affiliated to the Johns Hopkins University, revealed that early newborn death dropped by 56 percent and intra-partum stillbirth was halved after a practice-based learning approach replaced traditional training to improve and maintain midwifery skills.
Branded as Low-Dose, High Frequency (LDHF), the approach trains teams of frontline healthcare providers and features delivery of short lessons and interactive simulations that are reinforced over time to optimize learning.
The Ghana study showed the LDHF approach was highly cost-effective, with the reduction in early newborn deaths showing clear value from the investments made through program activities.
Although Ghana had made progress in the reduction of the health-related MDGs by the end of 2015, the progress made towards reducing under-five mortality rate was not highly significant.
According to the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey, under-five mortality rate was 60 deaths per 1,000 live births and, out of this, 68 percent occurred before a child's first birthday, 48 percent occurring during the first month of life.
Minister of Health Kwaku Agyemang Manu stressed the need for cost-effective interventions to speed up the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said cost-effective interventions were now available to protect children from the most dangerous day of their live, the day of birth, but a number of health personnel did not have the required skills for these interventions, stressing his outfit's commitment to ensuring that personnel were equipped with the requisite expertise and the tools to help reduce this menace.
He said the ministry had developed and launched the national healthcare quality strategy which is expected to help improve the quality of healthcare rendered to newborns and also improve their health outcomes.
"We believe by investing in quality care around the time of birth and expert care for sick newborns, we could save thousands of newborn lives in Ghana," said Manu.