Free SHS Is Good For The Poor – Samira Bawumia

Ghana’s Second Lady, Hajia Samira Bawumia says government’s much touted free Senior High School programme was implemented to enable needy students acquire secondary education.

According to the Gender Activist, hundreds of needy but brilliant students especially in rural communities dropped out of school in the past because financial constraints.

She therefore implored parents and guardians in the rural areas to take advantage of the Free SHS programme and send their children to school.

Hajia Samira said the education of the girl child should a collective responsibility and assured the widows of establishing vocational training and she abutter processing centres to improve their well-being.

“Education is a leveler for all of us and I am passionate about women empowerment. I will go the length and breadth of this country to empower our women. We will continue to do whatever we can to support our women.”

“I will continue to support women to realize their fullest potential. Thousands of women have benefited from my interventions through the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Project (SEHP).”

Hajia Samira Bawumia was addressing over 200 widows at Yong-Duuni, a farming settlement in the Saganarigu Municipality of the Northern Region where her not- for- profit making organization, Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Project (SEHP) in kind donated valuables for the widows upkeep.

These include food items, cooking oil, soft drinks, detergents and clothing.

Her support was in response to the poverty stricken widows cry for help in a media report.

The Second Lady called for philanthropic efforts to improve the well-being of the widows.

The Saganarigu Municipal Chief Executive, Mariam Iddrisu praised Hajia Samira Bawumia for the assistance.

“Your generosity in that regard following a media report is unprecedented and I pray that you succeed in all your endeavours and do more for the widows and others having similar problems.”

The MCE further commended the Northern Widows Agriculture Foundation management for contributing to the upkeep of the widows.

She underscored the need for duty bearers, philanthropists and civil society organizations to emulate Hajia Samira Bawumia’s kind gesture.

Executive Director of the Northern Widows Agricultural Foundation (NWAF), Issah Iddrisu on behalf of the widows thanked Hajia Samira Bawumia for her generosity.

He proposed partnership between the Foundation and the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Project.

The Widows

The widows farmlands and homes were destroyed by this year’s floods caused by torrential rains coupled with the Bagre Dam spillage.

They are in five districts of the Northern Region comprising Sagnarigu, Tolon, Kumbungu, Tamale and Savelugu.

Their economic mainstay is subsistence farming and Shea butter processing.

As single mothers whose spouses have died, the disruption of their marriage is a source of great emotional pain and stress.

They are unable to cope with widowhood for which reason they are crying for help.
Some of them have as many as six, seven, eight and nine children and cannot cater for the family’s needs.

Majority of them are at Yong-Duuni, a farming community in the Sagnarigu Municipality.

Without donor support, the Northern Widows Agricultural Foundation is supporting the widows in the areas of agriculture, health, environment, leadership and microfinance.

Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Project (SEHP)

The SEHP is a not-for-profit organization founded by the Second Lady of Ghana, Hajia Samira Bawumia to serve as a catalyst to first reduce maternal and mortality from the current reported level of 319 deaths per 100,000 live births to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’ target of 70 per 100,000 live births.

Secondly, the project is to help in the efforts by government reduce neo-natal mortality(newborn deaths) from 29 per 1000 live births to 12 per 1000 live births in keeping with UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The organization on 10 th May, 2018 launched “The Safe Delivery Project’ aimed at reducing maternal and neo-natal mortality drastically in deprived communities of Ghana.

The official launch was at the East Gonja Municipality of the Northern region under the theme: “ Promoting Safe Deliveries and Ensuring Healthy Infants; Securing Our Future .”

Prior to the launch, a team of Volunteers and supervisors trained Senior Midwives, TBAs and Volunteers (nurses)in the East Gonja Municipality on the 8th of May, on the proper use of the birth kit and safe delivery practices.Beneficiaries of the first deliveries of the birth kits are residents of Six (6) sub-districts within East Gonja; Kpalbe, Makango, Bunjai, Buma, Jantong and Salaga.

Details of the Safe delivery project

Records by the SEHP management indicated that Ghana registered a gradual decline in maternal mortality rate in the last decade.

The gains, though moderate, brought the national maternal mortality down from about 740 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the 1990’s to 319 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

This is far from the country’s set target of 185 per 100,000 live births in 2015. Despite these gains, maternal and neonatal mortality continue to be unfortunate health issues that Ghana is still grappling with.

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service continue to implement evidence based and high impact interventions to reduce the incidence of maternal and neonatal mortality.

However, the interventions of these government agencies are hampered by challenges such asinsufficient funding, human resources and essential supplies especially at the peripheral levels, as well as inadequate monitoring and supervision of service delivery, (2016 Report of the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service).

It is against this background that the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Projects (SEHP), a not-for-profit organization founded by the Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Samira Bawumia, has developed The Safe Delivery Project ; themed “ Promoting safe deliveries and ensuring healthy infants; Securing our future” to contribute to the reduction in maternal mortality from the current reported level of 319 deaths per 100,000 live births (Ministry of Health, October 2017) to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’ target of 70 per 100,000 live births.

The Project also aims at contributing to the reduction in the neonatal mortality rate which currently stands at 29 per 1,000 live births, as disclosed by the Health Minister of Ghana on 28th October 2017.

Over the next few years, SEHP aims to provide up to 100,000 well-resourced birth kits to expectant mothers all across the country.

The kit contains medicines and supplies (Misoprostol tablets, pre-natal and post-natal vitamins and mineral supplements, medicated soap, gauze swab, cord clamps, cord sheet, sterile blade, delivery mat, cord ties, sterile gloves, combine dressing, baby hat, name tag, cord sheets, and methylated spirit) which will all be distributed by trained community based volunteers and health personnel to 100,000 expectant mothers in the worst affected communities in Ghana.

The expectant mothers will be given information on the use, importance and impact of these birth kits.

These pregnant women are expected to go to health facilities with the kits during labor. In addition, qualified Senior Midwives will train Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and nurses on how to effectively use the birth kits and ensure safe delivery practices for the expectant mothers, in the absence of a nearby health facility.

In keeping with the SEHP’s health objective which is to provide vital health interventions to children, women and medical institutions, the Safe Delivery Project was developed in an effort to improve the survival chances of mothers and newborns by addressing some of the major causes of maternal and neonatal mortality- Postpartum Hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders and infections.

With the hope of contributing its quota to society, the SEHP aims to establish a sustainable basic birth kit supply system that can potentially be scaled up by the government.

Data obtained during the project will be analyzed and forwarded to the relevant state institutions.

The expected data would contribute to national policy aimed at reducing maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.

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