Ghana has launched a comprehensive Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAHN) Strategic Plan aimed at ensuring increased and equitable access to high quality RMNCAHN services for all by 2030.
The five-year RMNCAHN prioritized strategic framework provides strategic direction for health and relevant non health stakeholders towards ending preventable deaths of women, newborns, children and adolescents and ensuring their health and wellbeing. It is also aligned with the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health (2016 - 2030) and envisions a world in which every woman, child and adolescent in every setting, realizes their rights to physical and mental health and well-being, has social and economic opportunities, and can participate fully in shaping prosperous and sustainable societies.
Nevertheless, over the past decade and according to the Maternal Health Survey reports in 2007 and 2017, Ghana has reduced the number of mothers who die from pregnancy related causes from 378 to 310 for every 100,000 live births. The under-five mortality was reduced from 82 to 52 per 1,000 live births. Infant mortality went down from 50 to 37 per 1,000 live births. Out of every 1,000 live births, newborn deaths declined from 29 to 25. And stunting decreased from 6.8% to 4.8%.
In spite of the progress made for every 1,000 children born alive in Ghana, 52 die between birth and their fifth birthday, 37 do not make it before reaching their first birthday, and 25 die between birth and 28 days. Only half of newborns are put to their mother's breast within the first hour of birth and only four out of ten children below six months are exclusively breastfed with close to one in every five children under five years, stunted.
To accelerate efforts to reduce these relatively high rates, the country has over the period, developed a number of strategies for the various components of RMNCAHN which are being implemented:
- National Reproductive Health Service policy and standards - 2014
- National Newborn Health Strategy and action plan (2019 - 2023)
- National Adolescent Health Service policy and strategy (2016 - 2020)
- Ghana Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan (2016 - 2020)
- National Child Health Policy and Strategy (2017 - 2025)
- National Nutrition Policy - 2017
With several strategic documents seeking to achieve similar goals, it became necessary for the country to have an over-arching integrated RMNCAHN Plan as a coordinated effort targeted at adapting and implementing the Global Strategy for Women, Children and Adolescent Health (GSWCAH) to achieve the SDGs, particularly Goal 3. For the first time, progress has been made to merge the various health and nutrition strategies into a comprehensive one.
The RMNCAHN Strategic Plan was developed with support from WHO and the H6 Partnership which harnesses the collective strengths of the WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, UNAIDS, and the World Bank Group to advance the Global Strategy for Every Woman, Every Child (EWEC) and support country leadership and action for the health of women, children and adolescents.