Under-five mortality in Navrongo in the Upper East Region reduced from 235 per 1,000 live births in 1996 to 51.6 per 1,000 live births by 2015.
Organised by INDEPTH Network, a research-based non-governmental organisation, OPTIMUNISE is a European Union consortium which evaluated the results of child health interventions in Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso.
Using the Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS) sites of the INDEPTH Network in Navrongo in Ghana, Bandim in Guinea-Bissau and Nouna in Burkina Faso, the project was initiated in March 2011 and lasted for five years.
The three research sites under OPTIMUNISE created a platform for assessing the overall mortality effect of the major child health interventions which are vaccines and vitamin A supplementation.
Mr Azongo, in a presentation, enumerated some of the interventions undertaken by the Navrongo Health Research Centre to achieve a decline in under-five mortality in the Navrongo community to include Vitamin A trial from 1989 to 1991, bednet trial from 1993 to 1995 and the Community Health and Planning Services (CHPS) from 1994 to 2004.
These factors, he said, were also complemented with national immunisation campaigns on polio and measles among other diseases.
The OPTIMUNISE Project Co-ordinator, Professor Peter Aaby, in an interview said the project started as a result of observations made in Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso after it was discovered that some vaccines such as measles vaccination had an impact on other diseases.
He said the project showed that the effect of health interventions was not based on only specific results but also on some non-specific interventions such as vaccination on tuberculosis which had been found to also strengthen the immune system as well as reduce the overall mortality among children.
The Executive Director, INDEPTH Network, Prof. Osman Sankoh, said the network had a vision to be the trusted source for evidence supporting health and development in least developed countries.
Additionally, he said the network sought to lead a coordinated approach by the world’s health and demographic surveillance systems to provide timely longitudinal evidence necessary to understand and improve population, health and development policy and practice.
He said as part of its strategic objective from 2017 to 2021, INDEPTH Network was looking at other objectives to enrich and guide policy that was community responsive so as to help generate evidence and facilitate the translation of INDEPTH findings to maximise impact on policy, programme and practice, with a special commitment to community engagement in research and public engagement and its implications for society.
He said as part of its new direction, the network was implementing the Comprehensive Health and Epidemiological Surveillance System (CHESS), which aimed to improve on the timely delivery of high-quality data for specific cause of illness, together with data on overall cause of death.