Projects: Collaborate.Health

Alive and Thrive

Improving quality and access to Basic Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care in  Akyem Dwenase, Ghana

Agency Partner
Dwenase Health Center
Program Design for Global Health
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The maternal mortality rate of Ghana is currently 310 deaths per 100,000 live births, much higher than that of the US (26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births). While most women (97%) in the Eastern Region of Ghana attend ANC visits with a skilled provider and a majority (77%) give birth in a health facility, many are still dying due to direct maternal causes (including hemorrhage, unsafe abortion, and other obstetric complications), logistical, and financial issues.

Currently, patients are traveling from up to ten kilometers away by car, bus or foot, none of which are consistently reliable. If the patient arrives at the community health centre and a complication arises, then the patient must arrange for travel to get to the District Hospital, which is another hour away. The majority of the expectant mothers of the community do not have any emergency plan in place, if they were to need assistance or transportation. The clinical staff of the Akyem Dwenase Health Centre are also not trained to provide basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care (BEmONC), so they are unable to address complications.

Finally, the existing infrastructure of the health centre is insufficient for the needs of the community. The maternity ward is the size of a small office, and if more than two mothers are in labor at the same time, then one mother and her newborn must be moved to the floor. There is also inadequate equipment and medical supplies for the health centre to provide BEmONC.


Chief Osabarima Owusu Baafi Aboagye III, a newly appointed chief of the village Akyem Dwenase, located in the Eastern Region of Ghana was the partner for this project. Not only is Chief Osabarima Owusu Baafi Aboagye III the leader of this community, but he is also a lawyer and professor of urban planning at Boston University. One of his first priorities in his new role is to improve the maternal and neonatal health outcomes of Akyem Dwenase by addressing the needs of the local health facility, the Akyem Dwenase Health Centre.


Being able to communicate with the health centre staff was critical to the success of this proposal. Throughout the development of the proposal 4G technology in eastern Ghana gave the team the rare opportunity to communicate frequently with the health center staff over WhatsApp. The team was able to listen carefully to the perspective of the health centre workers and learn from them about the true needs of the community. Throughout the duration of this project, the team conducted video calls with many of the health centre staff to understand their needs and priorities.


The ultimate goal of the program is to provide all women and child in the greater Akyem Dwenase community access to quality obstetric and neonatal health care. Based on input from Chief Kwabena and the staff of the Akyem Dwenase Health Centre, the team designed a program and created a proposal to improve transportation and emergency planning, staff training and the infrastructure of the health centre.


By increasing health centre staff knowledge and skills, and ensuring that supplies and equipment are stocked, quality of care and patient experience will be drastically improved. Health Centre Staff will be trained in BEmONC and will be able to address most pregnancy complications at the health centre, without having to refer women to the district hospital, over an hour away. The staff will also develop strategies to mitigate supply chain issues and ensure that necessary medicines are in stock.

Lastly, by expanding the maternity ward, there will be enough space and privacy to meet the needs of women in the Akyem Dwenase community. The expanded maternity ward will have necessary equipment for the Health Center staff to be able to provide BEmONC and ensure that new mothers have the space and time necessary to rest after deliveries.

In the long term,  these interventions will contribute to a decrease in maternal and neonatal mortalities and morbidities in rural Ghana.

Project Timeline

This project took four months to complete from kick-off meeting to presentation of final deliverables. Click the button below for a detailed timeline.

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Meet the Program Design Team

The Team with Course Instructors James Wolff and Cristin Marona

Mayah Burgess

Mayah Burgess is concentrating in Environmental Health and working at Boston Medical Center. Her main passion is regarding water quality issues and addressing needs for improved water and sanitation to better health outcomes.

Dorian Burks

Dorian Burks is a part-time student concentrating in Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation and Evaluation. He works as a Project Manager at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and has been pursuing his interests at the intersection of racial justice, health equity and improvement science through various projects at both school and work.

Dielle Lundberg

Dielle Lundberg is a part-time student concentrating in Design and Conduct of Public Health Research. They previously lived in Ghana for two years, interning with non-governmental organizations working to advance disability rights and remain involved in upcycling denim to create employment with a partner in Ghana.

Martina Spain

Martina Spain is an MPH candidate earning certificates in Global Health Program Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation, and Maternal and Child Health.  She is passionate about sexual and reproductive health and rights and working towards reducing inequities in health.

The Health Center Team with Chief Kwabena Kyei-Aboagye

From right to left: Daniel, Chief Osabarima Owusu Baafi Aboagye III, Bernice, and Marfo; Gloria (not seen) took the picture

Program Design Deliverable

Read the Proposal

Presentation Slides

View the Presentation