New project launched to support maternal mental health in Ghana

Posted on: Tuesday, 11th December, 2018
A self-help group in northern Ghana, where members found that by working together they were able to successfully call for improvement in provision of local health services and improve their livelihoods.

A BasicNeeds project has been launched to improve the mental health of pregnant women, mothers and their children in Ghana, West Africa. The programme is funded by UK Aid Direct, a 5-year programme changing the lives of the world's poorest people with UK aid from the UK Government.

Speaking at a launch event in Accra on 28 November, Country Director of the UK Department for International Development Philip Smith, explained how this vital programme will transform lives:

“During pregnancy and after the birth of a baby, women, and their partners, are at a higher risk of mental health problems. The birth of a new baby is a time of great joy, but can also be a time when mental health conditions that a woman may have previously experienced can return. And it can affect anyone - low mood, anxiety and depression are common problems that occur during pregnancy and in the year after childbirth, affecting up to 1 in 5 women."

“I hope that this project will truly make a difference. It aims to improve the mental health and livelihoods for poor and vulnerable pregnant women and mothers - and their children - in target districts. Specifically, it will make it possible to detect early on mental health conditions - particularly depression - among pregnant women and new mothers that will allow them to access treatment – whether counselling or medical management.”

“It will help train health and social workers to recognise and manage depression and other common mental health issues in a sensitive way. It will provide mothers with support - from community groups and peers -so that new mothers know they are not alone, and support them with livelihoods skills.”

“And perhaps most importantly, the project will continue to tackle stigma around this issue.”

The launch event brought together the Deputy Minister of Health, DFID Country Director for Ghana, Directors of the Ghana Health Service, Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority, Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), BasicNeeds Ghana and other NGOs.

Read Philip Smith’s full speech here.

BasicNeeds has been part of the CBM family since July 2017.

Image: A self-help group in northern Ghana, where members found that by working together they were able to successfully call for improvement in provision of local health services and improve their livelihoods.



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