USAID Transforms Private Maternity Homes in Ghana

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ACCRA, Ghana:

On February 2, 2018, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners met to celebrate the transformation of private maternity homes in Ghana. Midwives, Government of Ghana representatives, USAID staff, and partners gathered in Accra for the occasion. The event included presentations, poster exhibitions, and a panel discussion on revitalizing the private maternity sector in Ghana. The President of Ghana Registered Midwives Association, Netta Ackon; USAID/Ghana Health Office Director Akua Kwateng-Addo; the President and CEO of Banyan Global, Meaghan Smith, and Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service representatives were in attendance.

Given limited donor funds, it has become imperative to identify alternate and innovative avenues for attracting resources and management expertise of the private sector

Private maternity homes are an important provider of maternal and child health care in Ghana, but they have experienced a steady decline over the past decade as midwives have aged and facilities have closed. Since 2014, USAID and its partners have worked to revive the private maternity sector in underserved areas of the country. These efforts include working with existing private maternity home owners, providing training and assistance in both clinical and business skills, and assisting private maternity homes to complete ownership or management transformations designed to help the health facility survive the departure of the primary owner/midwife.

USAID/Ghana Health Office Director Akua Kwateng-Addo delivered opening remarks and praised the achievements for being “catalytic in encouraging facilities to build a sound financial foundation, which ultimately led to improved quality of services.” She also highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in light of Ghana’s Beyond Aid vision. “Given limited donor funds, it has become imperative to identify alternate and innovative avenues for attracting resources and management expertise of the private sector.”

The development outcomes have shown promising results, with 88 percent of surveyed private maternity homes demonstrating an improvement in financial sustainability; 92 percent demonstrating an improvement in the quality of clinical services; and 22 facilities completing a “transformation,” which means that the private maternity home has taken critical steps to ensure financially sustainable ownership and management. The process of revitalizing private maternity involves transferring the ownership of declining or closed facilities to younger midwives who can make investments that will increase capacity, improve quality, and expand important maternal child health and family planning services in rural areas.