Sunyani, October 1, 2023

The Reproductive Needs and Fitness (RENEF) Foundation says it has trained more than 400 nurses and other health practitioners in handicraft skills opportunities in addition to their professions to enhance their socioeconomic livelihoods.

RENEF is a Ghana based non-governmental organization (GNO) established in 2016, working to employ effective public health strategies and diversified approaches that equip people with practical knowledge to enable them make well-informed decisions with regards to their health and wellbeing.

The foundation as part of the health education activities is committed to economically empowering nursing and midwifery students with skills in areas such as hair shampoos and conditioner, after-wash, smoothies and drinks as well as soap making.

Beneficiaries of the skills training program included the KNUST school of Nursing, Agogo Nursing and Midwifery training college, Kumasi Nursing training college and Korle-bu Nursing and Midwifery training college.

The initiative was to help them with sources of income after training school and waiting for their postings, Mrs Abigail Antwi-Baafi, the Executive Director of the foundation explained.

She was addressing a news conference on Saturday in Sunyani on the activities, aim and objectives of RENEF foundation.

She said RENEF is into finding possible solutions to public health challenges through advocacy, support services, public and health education as well as health promotion.

In that regard, the foundation executed school and reproductive health campaign for adolescent in the Bono region with the support of the Ghana Education service and Ghana Health service, Mrs Antwi-Baafi stated.

As part of the campaign, the foundation in 2022 introduced a Gender-based violence awareness song involving public figures in Ghana including sensitization walks and a performing arts competition organized among the five tertiary institutions within the Bono region to create awareness on Gender-based violence.

Mrs Antwi-Baafi said RENEF again launched a Gender-based violence project in Bono region with key stakeholders including the Regional Coordinating Council, Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection, Traditional rulers, Ghana Health Service, Legal Aid Commission, Ghana Education Service and the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service.

She added a television content was also introduced with support from MoGCSP to give platform for victims of abuse, neglect and exploitation to share their ordeal. 

RENEF launched another campaign dubbed “Improve Maternal and Child Health Care (#IMCHC campaign)” as part of its Miss Nightingale initiative to intensify sensitization on maternal and child health care delivery with focus on Malnutrition/Anemia, Hygiene, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT)-HIV AIDS and Maternal and Child Mortality.

This is because, cases of maternal and child mortality in recent years are overwhelming and disturbing, therefore needed urgent and collective intervention, Mrs Antwi-Baafi explained with worry.

“Publishing of 10 health educational materials on healthy living in 2016-2017 in our quest to educate the public on lifestyle and non-communicable diseases” was also part of activities of the foundation.

Mrs Antwi-Baafi said RENEF further rebranded the Miss Elegance to MISS NIGHTINGALE, a beauty pageant initiative among Nursing and Midwifery students from both Training Colleges and Universities as means of creating awareness on Gender-based violence and Maternal and Child health issues.

As an organization, we only took interest in the already existing Miss Nightingale pageant only as a means of addressing the disturbing issues of maternal and child health and nothing more.

Another intervention was also the partnership project with the Ministry of Health where RENEF Foundation and allies sponsored the year of the Nurse and Midwife Celebration in 2021(YONM-2021) she revealed.

The foundation in 2017 introduced a radio health program in Kumasi also to educate the public on natural and self-help remedies to help and empower the individual to take charge of their own health.

Again, she said a partnership project with MULTIMEDIA Ghana and other television stations was formed for the introduction of a holistic health content dubbed, RENEF HOME HEALTH TIT BITS which we broadcast on television. 

Mrs Antwi-Baafi said “we have been made aware of a circular by the NMC which subtly seeks to cast a bad light on our image and core purpose and this we, with the greatest respect, deem to be very unfortunate”. 

“The narrative out there seeks to project the content of pageantry with the circles of the Nursing Students as a novel act created by our organization which is actually not the truth”.

But, according to Mrs Antwi-Baafi, RENEF Foundation in the years ahead is poised to do its best in support of maternal and child health care delivery services in Ghana to bring the alarming cases of maternal and neonatal mortality under control.

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