by Betty Blay Ackah from The Maternal Health Channel, Creative Storm Networks 

Almost 3,000 women in Ghana die every year, and thousands more are disabled from pregnancy related complications. These figures encompass only the cases that are reported.

Vital as it is, attaining solutions goes beyond benevolent individuals and institutions donating necessary materials to some districts as it happens now, because the problem looms very large, and permeates very deep and far in the society. We need a systematic manner of addressing not only the lack of facilities, but the socio-cultural behaviours that also greatly contribute to maternal mortality. There is also the question of the inadequate policies which do not institutionalize frameworks for effective healthcare delivery.

Like the late Major Quashigah, former Minister for Health, puts it, “The paradox is that we know what is killing them and we know what to do.” How do we do it then? The Maternal Health Channel Television and Radio Series provides a national public platform to investigate the “how” in a methodical and productive way. A principal objective is to inculcate the voices of the marginalized into the debate on quality and sustainable healthcare. Thus each episode is a documentary/dramatized exposition of a true story, after which there is a studio discussion segment. This segment brings together community members and personalities on which the story was based, experts in the field depending on the setting of the story, policymakers, and diverse members of the society. This series uses the field of communication and “edutainment” to achieve Social Change and Development. Key creative approaches are employed including:

Dramatization – Although true stories, the retelling of these events are partly dramatized to reenact the tragedies faced by our true-life heroes.

Music – An important aspect of any communications project of this kind is to make sure it is steeped in the sociocultural context of the target community. We create authentic music which is peculiar to those  communities from which the stories emanate. This is a highly creative act, as opposed to slapping on any music to convey any social context. It derives from a certain understanding of the poignancy of music to the Ghanaian social experience. In the first episode based in Keta, we use ‘agbadza’ rhythms to introduce the communities and recreate one of the most popular funeral dirges to convey the feelings of the mourners at Charity’s funeral. Two of the music writers are Vico Mensah, keyboardist and bassist of the world famous Osibisa group, and Phillip O’Meara, music writer for the BBC.

Narrative – The narrative emulates the best of our story-telling traditions, sometimes using backward chronology.

The personalities – We utilize edutainment – combining education and entertainment. We hope to involve more personalities from the Ghanaian entertainment industries. Ivy Prosper, one of the hosts, is a known figure in the global modeling industry. The director, Dr. Kwesi Owusu, is the award-winning director of ‘Ama’, and the Ghanaian music documentary ‘Singing for Freedom’.

Women should not have to die in the process of giving life. Like our title says, pregnancy is not a disease or death sentence.

Below are links to the three episodes which have been aired on television

Charity’s Story (Part 1)

Charity’s Story (Part 2)

Good News From Kpalbe

This post has been crossposted from the Maternal Health Taskforce website with permission.

One Response to Pregnancy is not a disease, nor a death sentence…

  1. Hey Betty, I really enjoyed reading this post about re-enacting the life of a woman in her journey to pregnancy. I could not agree more with what you have said that pregnancy is neither a disease nor a death sentence. This fact must motivate women in pregnancy miracle.

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