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Maternal Health Blog

CARE Learning Tour Travels To GHANA

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Giulia McPherson is traveling in Liberia and Ghana on a CARE Learning Tour, a comprehensive, multi-day tour for policymakers and those who can influence policy to gain firsthand knowledge of the core issues poor communities face. She is the Deputy Director for Citizen Advocacy with CARE USA”s Policy and Advocacy Unit. To learn more about the Learning Tours Program, please visit: www.care.org/learningtours.

Ghana is often characterized as an “African success story,’ having achieved impressive growth and record poverty reduction over the past 20 years. Life expectancy is currently at 64 years - the highest in sub-Saharan Africa - and there has been a 20 percent drop in the child mortality rate as well as 95 percent growth in primary education enrollment. Ghana is currently on track to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1 of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

While Ghana has made tremendous strides, it still faces significant challenges in improving the lives of the 20 percent of the population that lives on $1.25 a day. The country struggles with pervasive gender inequality and a northern region that lags far behind the rest of the nation in overall development. Additionally, combating malaria is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Ghana.

[Rep. Hank Johnson helps hang a bed net to prevent the contraction of malaria]

Today, the CARE Learning Tour delegation visited a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported program called the HealthKeepers Network (HKN). This innovative program recruits and trains local women to become “HealthKeepers’ who sell health protection products, including water purification tablets, oral rehydration solution for dehydrated children, contraceptives and hygiene products.

HKN also provides insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria while working with the local community to raise awareness about the importance of using bed nets. The delegation visited the home of Grace Tetteh, the mother of three sons who received her family”s first bed net a month ago. Today, during the delegation”s visit, Grace received her second bed net – providing her family the protection they need against contracting malaria.

Ghana is an example of a country that has made significant leaps toward poverty reduction due to long-term sustained engagement and support from the international community, including the United States. Within such financially difficult times, Ghana shows us how investments in health and development can go a long way towards meeting the basic needs of the world”s poor, promoting global stability, expanding the benefits of the global economy and applying American values. During a reception hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, which concluded the delegation”s day, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) noted that, “We Americans are known for being humanitarians – we have a moral obligation to improve the lives of people around the world.’

Posted by kporter@care.org on Jan 13, 2012 1:04 PM US/Eastern

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