This report illustrates the small positive changes that can grow into big ones. It’s a story about Shawarna Mohammed, a young woman from Kpalbe in Northern Ghana. She featured in ‘The Lights Have Gone Out Again’, the documentary that inspired the Maternal Health Channel Television Series, when she was fearful about her impending delivery as she had previously lost her child. We go back four years later to witness changes in the maternal health care services there.
Kpalbe, also known as Palbe is located in the Northern region of Ghana. The population currently stands at 3000.
The health centre at Kpalbe is poorly equipped with inadequate staff numbers serving over 40 far - flung communities across the district. With no ambulance service, the health centre relies on two motorbikes to transport emergency cases, including laboring women to Tamale Hospital, about 30 miles away.
Like most villages in rural Ghana, electricity supply is a persistent problem and during black outs, the midwife resorts to a torch light when delivering a babies. The Ghana Health Service encourages women to deliver at health facilities where they can be assured of skilled care, especially when complications arise but many women find it difficult to get there. The roads are bad and some women cannot afford the fares or fuelling the bikes to transport them. Most women deliver at home with traditional midwives.