Skip Navigation

Newborn baby deaths reduce by 56% - Study

July 7, 2017, 3:38 p.m.

A pilot training of health workers in maternity units has helped to reduce the level of newborn baby deaths by 56 per cent, while the incidence of babies who die within labour (intrapartum stillbirths) has also gone down by 50 per cent.

Jhpiego, a non-profit health organisation affiliated to the Johns Hopkins University in the United States of America, facilitated the new hands-on training of midwives, nurses and gynaecologists in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service in selected hospitals.

A post-implementation report of the pilot in the Central, Western and Upper West regions indicated that the number of 24-hour newborn deaths reduced by 56 per cent, while the number of intrapartum stillbirths reduced by 50 per cent after a year of implementation of the project.

The results of the study were made known at a workshop in Accra yesterday, during which stakeholders also discussed some of the findings.

The survival project

The training adopted the evidence-based clinical and training approaches to develop what they called ‘a low-dose high frequency (LDHF)’ which brought training for frontline healthcare providers on-site to replace the traditional way of holding training programmes at distant classrooms.

The ‘Accelerating Newborn Survival’ study revealed that following the on-site training, health service providers practised what they learned and reinforced their competencies through simulation exercises.

The approach was adopted under the Jhpiego project which was implemented between 2013 and 2017 in 57 hospitals and more than 59 primary healthcare facilities in the Central, Western, Upper West and Greater Accra regions.

The project is a comprehensive effort to improve quality health care during and immediately after birth by strengthening the competence and confidence of health providers to deliver essential and emergency procedures.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project seeks to improve and maintain the skills of healthcare providers, as well as enhance their confidence.

Building confidence

An obstetrician gynaecologist at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Eric Sarpong-Ntiamoah, explained that the project built a network of about 40 mentors who provided training and mentorship to 728 frontline healthcare providers.

He said the study also proved that the LDHF training approach was more cost-effective than the traditional training method, explaining that the LDHF did not only reduce the time providers spent away from work during training, but maximised opportunities for hands-on training and increased the number of beneficiaries in each facility.

Dr Sarpong-Ntiamoah, therefore, called on the government to adopt the approach to be replicated across the country.


The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, lauded the initiative and called on other stakeholders to assist the health ministry in the fight against child and maternal mortality.

He said cost-effective interventions were now available to protect children from the most dangerous day of their lives — the day of birth, but most health personnel lacked the required capacity to administer them, hence the need to equip them with the requisite expertise and tools to help reduce the menace.