Action on Preeclampsia Ghana (APECGH) is the sole Preeclampsia working advocacy organization in Ghana with the aim of raising public and professional awareness of Preeclampsia and its related variances and to support families and mothers who have suffered from Preeclampsia.
The Non-Governmental Organisation seeks to help save precious lives of mothers and infants from the fatal stings of Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy (HDP), notably Preeclampsia, Eclampsia, and HELLP Syndrome.
With their introductory issue complete and subsequent issues already in works, APECGH has finally launched its first Newsletter for this year.
According to the lead chair of the editorial board, Mrs. Koiwah Koi -Larbi Ofosuapea, Action on Preeclampsia Ghana will regularly create original content quarterly in 2021 to furnish health workers and expectant mothers with information pertaining to preeclampsia.
She added that: ” Our goal with this newsletter is to provide vital information on Preeclampsia and its related variances and also highlight relevant research, achievement, and challenges made in Ghana on the management of Hypertensive Disorders in Ghana. Information in this newsletter will also be beneficial to our patient community as it will provide learning opportunities for all pregnant women as well as women of child-bearing age to ensure safe delivery and promote preconception care. As an organization, we envision a world where Preeclampsia no longer threatens the lives of mothers and babies. Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy (HDP) is a major global health issue not only because of it’s close accompaniment of significant perinatal morbidity and mortality, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana Hypertensive Disorders in Pregnancy is the 2nd leading cause of maternal and infant mortality. Several research studies have attested to the fact that hypertension in pregnancy is a major factor in maternal mortality and child death. One of which is a study done in 2013 by the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana stating that ‘There is a significant burden of perinatal morbidity and mortality associated with HDP in the Ghanaian obstetric population and these adverse outcomes were more prevalent in Preeclampsia as compared to the other Hypertensive. It is estimated that for every early neonatal death there is another baby that is born dead (stillbirth) and HDP accounts for most of these perinatal losses, especially in low resource settings. A regular goal-oriented clinical audit into perinatal morbidity and mortality associated with HDP and an active multidisciplinary approach to the management of this disease in the hospital might improve the clinical outcomes of women with maternal hypertension.
There is one thing that is closely associated with this pregnancy disease: light. Preeclampsia is simply lightning and thunder to those who have witnessed it. This appears to be of a negative connotation and brings undesirable memories to families and persons who have suffered this feat. Nonetheless, it is the same light that ought to overcome the darkness of this disease. Knowledge is key. What is it that must be done to avoid and or prevent and or manage the situation when lightning strikes? Just be prepared. It must be noted that Preeclampsia is an illness that happens only in pregnancy or shortly after birth. In our preparation, we must know the signs and understand the symptoms, risks, and management of the same. The concept of preeclampsia, which invariably deals with symptoms and signs, sits on hypertension and proteinuria. Hence attending an antenatal clinic immediately upon detecting pregnancy is the solution. The health experts should be monitored to do the rest of the work especially on regular checks on blood pressure and urine. Once regular antenatal checks are in place, doctors and midwives are able to see how preeclampsia develop from its earliest signs.
As a three-time survivor of Preeclampsia, Eclampsia, and HELLP Syndrome, I cannot say it any less that every woman needs to be empowered through education and knowledge translation to take charge of their health. We, therefore, invite all readers to take time to read this inaugural edition of the newsletter and refer a friend to subscribe. Please do not hesitate to leave feedback or comment through the contact information provided.
On this note, we say AKWAABA and we look forward to a wonderful journey with you in 2021”
Action on Preeclampsia Ghana, APECGH is the sole non-governmental advocacy organization with the aim of creating and promoting public awareness to reduce infant and maternal mortality associated with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in Ghana. APECGH is actively involved in research on Preeclampsia and monitoring of high-risk or at-risk pregnant women through the provision of professional medical assistance. APECGH is also involved with evaluation and compliance with medical treatment regimes and provides counseling services to affected women and families with the goal of saving precious lives.
APECGH has since its inception, worked closely with the Ghana Health Service, the Office of the First Lady of Ghana, and UNFPA Ghana on maternal health issues and programs. APECGH thrives on health professional volunteers; comprising medical doctors, health researchers, nurses, and midwives in achieving its aim of reducing maternal and infant mortality caused by hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, especially Preeclampsia and Eclampsia in Ghana.
The birth of Action on Preeclampsia Ghana (APECGH) was inspired by the experiences of Koiwah Koi-Larbi Ofosuapea (Mrs.), who experienced Eclampsia and pre-eclampsia in 2012 and 2017 respectively. This resulted in the loss of her two baby boys as she encapsulates in her narrative “The sons we never nurtured” as well as in a hotline documentary on maternal mortality in Ghana by a leading media house in the country, Joy TV of Multimedia group, titled “Women in Battle”. APECGH launched on 22nd May in 2017, before then little was known about Preeclampsia, this deadly pregnancy disease, in Ghana. Since then, APECGH has undertaken several programs towards achieving its set objectives;
We envision a world where Preeclampsia no longer threatens the lives of mothers and babies
To improve diagnosis, management, and prevention of Preeclampsia through Public Education, Research, and Improved Healthcare Practices.
- To educate and counsel the public especially pregnant women about the prevalence, nature, and risks of Preeclampsia.
- To campaign for increased awareness, action, and research to improve methods of detection and treatment.
- To provide physical and emotional support to women and families who have been affected by Preeclampsia.
As a patient organization, APECGH is currently a member of the SPOT (Severe Preeclampsia Adverse Outcome Triage) studies. A research project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dutch Research Council (NWO), University of Tennessee, and the UMC Utrecht and aimed at improving the quality of care for pregnant women by using interdisciplinary, mixed-method intervention design.
The sole objective of APECGH is to reduce infant and maternal mortality caused by Preeclampsia in Ghana. To this end, close to ten (10) regional leaders and over 35 youth volunteers have been recruited to champion this cause.
Ghana has a long way to go, given that Preeclampsia continues to be one of the most common of the serious complications of pregnancy, impacting thousands of women and families in Ghana each year. Worldwide the figures are stark and alarming.
- Preeclampsia Awareness Week – May 2021
- World Preeclampsia Day- May 2021
- Maternal Health Fashion Show (MAHF’s) -March 2021
- Study Workshop for Clinicians and Midwives -July-September 2021
- Patient Advocacy Month- March 2021
- Early Career workshop series for Ph.D. Fellows October-2021
- The Cuff Project Fundraising Program – May to November 2021
SOURCE: ISABELLA GARTI