A key stakeholder start-up forum on the implementation of a project on Maternal Mental Health (MMH) was held on Thursday 23rd August, 2018, at the Blue Hill Hotel in Wa, to provide a common platform for Centre for People’s Empowerment and Rights Initiatives (CPRI) who are the project implementers for the Upper West Region to interact and discuss with the various stakeholders in the region on the project which seeks to enhance the maternal mental health of some 29,520 pregnant women and mothers and their children to realise maternal health in Ghana as a whole.
Giving the welcome statement, Mr. Anacletus Seeninyin, Project Advisor for CPRI, noted that “the project on maternal health that we are launching today and to discuss is a new one but not a totally new one, I say it is new because there has been a break and I say its not new because we started it as far back as 2016 but there was a problem with implementation on the part of the donors so we had to suspend it and thank God we are back here today to launch it again”
He said that the CPRI has successfully collaborated with the Ghana health service since 2006 in the Upper west region.
He recounted that they had trained a number of health professionals when the project began in 2016 covering the entire region on their goal which centred largely but not limited to Pre-natal depression, Post-partum Depression and Post-Partum psychosis.
Mr. Seeninyin however said the training process will be done again to enable the new personnel and those who may have forgotten what they learnt to get abreast with the latest processes and procedures.
Mr. Dominic Wunigura, Project Coordinator for CPRI, led the project presentation on Maternal Mental Health revealed the project is being implemented in four Regions (Upper West, Upper East, Northern and Brong-Ahafo) and is slated to span three years (July, 2018 to June, 2021).
He explained that one in four persons suffers from common mental disorders (depression and/or anxiety) during and after pregnancy which he noted that as an NGO with the focus on Mental health and Recognising the need for public maternal mental health services, they are working towards mental health support for all mothers to promote their well-being, and that of their children and communities by working with the various health institutions and the community leaders and mother support groups as a way of maintaining direct contact with the beneficiaries.
He said, even though they are focused on perinatal depression and post-partum psychosis, at they will also work with the various support groups to train some of these beneficiaries and arrange either apprenticeship or funding after the training period elapses.
Taking his turn during the discussion, the regional director of Health that stated “globally we have up to one in every four post-partum mothers suffering from depression and so if advanced countries have something of this nature I’m sure your guess is as good as mine when it comes to countries like ours.”
He recognised that pre-natal depression is a serious issue that needs all hands-on deck to enhance the mental wellbeing of those who suffer such conditions. He also noted that statistically for depression in general, the region recorded 138 cases in 2015, 146 in 2016, 588 in 2017 and 163 for the half year 2018.
“I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for the challenge that we are facing and my expectation is that together we push this issue of post-partum depression and all its barriers closer to its elimination point” He concluded.