Nurses in Ghana
On a routine home visit, Barbara Senu, a nurse, was worried about a newborn baby’s umbilical cord stump. The baby’s young mother applied sand and toothpaste and Barbara feared it would lead to an infection that could turn deadly. The nurse, while still in the young mother’s home, pulled out her phone and took a video to post it on the CHN (Community Health Nurse) on the Go WhatsApp group. At that time, she was informed to tell the mother not to do so and gave the mother instructions on umbilical cord care. CHN on the Go has helped nurses in Ghana better serve the community.

Working in Aloneness

Discovered in July 2014, CHN on the Go is a smartphone app that is helping nurses in Ghana bring the necessary needed maternal and child health services in hard-to-reach areas in Ghana. The app is also improving the knowledge and skills of nurses in developing communities to feel less lonely from their relatives that live far from their area, Concern Worldwide U.S. reported.

Regularly nurses would walk for hours or get around by motorcycle or canoe to get to their patients. The nurses would leave their homes early in the morning and return late at night, visiting more than a dozen villages in one month, according to Concern Worldwide U.S. Once the nurses arrive, they have to deal with difficulty in helping young mothers and newborns because of the lack of recognition and potential for career advancement, this has left the nurses unmotivated and shell shocked.

Communication Skills

The most popular feature of the CHN on the Go smartphone app is the app’s e-courses. The app lets the nurses in Ghana get credit for the completed and passed classes, helping them to get credit while also increasing their clinical knowledge and improving their education and careers. More than half of the nurses find it difficult to leave their jobs and return to school.

According to Concern Worldwide U.S., the topics on the app range from family planning to pregnancy issues. The nurses have said they go over the e-learning courses at least once or twice before going to bed at night. The pictures on the CHN on the go smartphone app help the nurses effectively communicate a problem if it arrives. The images help because some clients aren’t literate, and the nurses can’t speak the local dialect. Visuals placed on the smartphone help mothers throughout their pregnancies and even after.

In Closing

CHN has achieved the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MGDs). CHN argues that this app will help improve health service deliveries and positive outcomes such as maternal and child health, guinea worm station coverage and HIV/AIDS treatment. CHNs have faced many challenges, like capacity problems and neglect by the health care system but have no plans of giving up.

In June 2019, more than 80% of CHN had had at least supervision interactions with their clients. There was a total of 215 CHNs using the CHN on the Go app as well as 55 supervisions using the app as well between January and July 2015 across five districts. CHN on the Go hopes to continue helping mothers and their children in hard-to-reach places.

– Alexis King
Photo: Flickr