Since its founding, GHEI has been working side-by-side with community members and district-level officials to tackle some of the biggest health problems. Over the years, there are three areas that GHEI continues to focus on: malaria prevention; sexual & reproductive health; and health trainings.
Since the program began in 2005, there's been a 48% increase in the use of bednets.
Malaria is a disease caused by parasites which is spread by mosquitos. It is endemic in Ghana, making the entire population of nearly 26 million at risk for contracting the disease. Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to malaria. According to the Ghana Health Service, in 2008, nearly a third of all deaths in children under 5 and one in ten deaths of pregnant women deaths were due to malaria. The use of long-lasting insecticide-treated bednets (LLINs) is believed to be one the best ways to prevent this illness at the community level.
Since GHEI’s Malaria Prevention Program began in 2005, over 5,400 LLINs have been distributed in our communities either for free or at highly-subsidized prices. Our staff are committed to providing household-level support through assistance in initial bednet hanging as well as mending or rehanging bednets when needed. GHEI also sells highly subsidized bednets from our office and conducts community-wide education on malaria prevention on World Malaria Day. We have found that this method of offering continuing support and education makes our program more effective in preventing malaria than those that solely distribute bednets.
Sexual & Reproductive Health
One of the most important ways to prevent HIV and sexually-transmitted infection (STIs) is to provide accurate information, particularly to young people. Raising awareness about safe sex is the first step in overcoming misconceptions about HIV, STIs, and contraception. In our communities, we partner with local business owners to sell male condoms at a highly subsidized cost. By selling condoms at a variety of spots in the community - from local drink spots to a centrally-located pharmacy - we are able to provide affordable contraception discreetly. GHEI also conducts community-wide education on HIV/STI prevention and regularly informs the public of the importance of using contraception and where its available.
In addition to working in our local communities, we also partner with officials at the district level to ensure the work of GHEI is aligned with district, regional, and national level goals and to address gaps in continuing training for health professionals in the district.
Through GHEI's partnership with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), US-based pediatricians visit annually to provide trainings on neonatal resuscitation at clinics, health centers, and hospitals in the Bibiani-Anwhiaso-Bekwai district. Through these trainings, midwives and nurses receive a refresher training - based on WHO's Helping Babies Breath curriculum - on a critical aspect of post-natal care, helping babies breathe immediately after delivery.
302 health professionals have been trained in neonatal resuscitation since 2010.
Dr. Andy Newcomer, a pediatrician from UCLA's Mattel's Children Hospital, facilitating a training in 2014.