Healthier & Happier Life Foundation (HHLF) in collaboration with the World Patients Alliance (WPA) is marking this year’s World Patient Safety Day (WPSD) in Ghana on the theme Breaking cultural barriers and saving the lives of vulnerable mothers and newborns in Ghana through theatre for development”. This forms part of both the Foundation and WPA’s investment in collaborative efforts to improve health and wellbeing.

The objectives of WPSD are to increase public awareness and engagement, enhance global understanding, and work towards global solidarity and action by all stakeholders to improve patient safety. The global theme of WPSD 2021 is “Safe maternal and newborn care” and all stakeholders are urged to “Act now for safe and respectful childbirth!


We acknowledge clients (mothers/women) as major stakeholders and the role that individual (clients) and community-related factors could play, either as facilitators or barriers to maternal and newborn care. Our hope is that through this event, we will be able to break some barriers including cultural, poor health-seeking behaviour and hygiene practices while enhancing the facilitators by providing educational content in the state and language understood by the people regarding safe maternal and newborn care.

Why this event matters

Approximately 810 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, around 6700 newborns die every day, amounting to 47% of all under-5 deaths. Moreover, about 2 million babies are stillborn every year, with over 40% occurring during labour.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 urges all countries to reduce maternal deaths below a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. The SDG-3 also calls on countries to reduce newborn deaths to 12 deaths per 1000 live births within the same period.

However, Ghana’s MMR and NMR remains high at 310 deaths per 100,000 and 25 per 1000 live births respectively. These deaths are higher among the vulnerable as well as indigenous populations. Cultural, poor health-seeking behaviour and hygiene practices have been identified as significant contributors. There is limited educational content in the state and language understood by these populations regarding safe maternal and newborn care. There is also the social rules /norms and mindset (cultural barriers) that deepen inaccessibility to educational contents and the seeking of health services among these populations.

Theatre for development (drama) is known as a key community engagement tool that effectively breaks cultural barriers to health education and interventions. We seek to use theatre for development to educate women living in James town, an indigenous urban community in order to help improve maternal and newborn care

What is our goal?

Our goal is to improve maternal and newborn care by providing an interactive educational content to both women and men living in James town.

Our event strategy

The strategy for this event includes

  1. Theatre for development (drama) in the language and state understood by people of James town. The actors will be people who understand cultural context of the people of James town
  2. Panel discussion by three pregnant women, followed by open discussions.
  3. Presentation by a midwife/doctor/nurse who understands in-depth the issues confronting safe maternal and newborn care in James Town

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