New Grant Aims to Curb Infant Mortality in Ghana by Helping Mothers to Reach Hospitals

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On October 29th, the New York Times reported that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently provided a grant to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a Massachusetts nonprofit, to identify strategies for helping pregnant women in Ghana to reach hospitals.

From the story:

Child mortality is very high in Ghana, but many newborns can be saved if the mother gives birth with someone trained, even rudimentarily, in Western medicine and if the baby is seen within two days by a doctor or nurse.

But in rural Ghana, explained Dr. Pierre M. Barker, vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which received the Gates grant, there are many obstacles. Besides the obvious, like rutted roads, there are prejudices against wives or newborns leaving the house.

Sending expert committees to visit village chiefs, he said, has turned many into advocates for getting women to clinics instead of giving birth with untrained local midwives who may be unable to diagnose pneumonia or who have habits that cause tetanus, like cutting umbilical cords with dirty blades.

Read the full story here.