E/R records increased maternal deaths for 3 years

The Eastern Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Mrs. Charity Sarpong has revealed that in 2017, approximately nine women and girls die every month from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth in the region.

That, she said, has caused the region to record a total of 108 maternal deaths in 2017 as against 104 in 2016 and 102 in 2015 showing an increase in each year.

“Unfortunately, some efforts to prevent maternal mortality in the region have not achieved the desired results and because of this the deaths in connection with pregnancy, childbirth and unsafe abortions kill and cripple women particularly in the poorest communities.”

Mrs Sarpong made this known during this year’s three-day regional annual performance review meeting on the theme: “Improving maternal health care delivery in the region-the critical role of health professionals,”

She blamed the number recorded on religion, tradition and culture that were used to limit and restrict the rights of women.

Mrs Sarpong stated that in order to reduce maternal deaths in the region, the health directorate had come up with a strategy to zone the region into five with each zone being assigned an obstetrician or gynaecologist specialist.

She added that there would also be capacity building training for health staff on safe motherhood protocols adding “setting up a maternal and neonatal audit implementation and tracking committee have been instituted.”

“We would strengthen sub-district health teams through integrated supportive supervision and monitoring, improve reproductive and child health with the objective of reducing maternal, neonatal and child health,” she said.

However, she revealed that the region had chalked some successes revealing that health services have expanded in terms of quality as well as quantity especially in the area of Community-based Health planning and services (CHPS) compounds..

She said family planning coverages, bridging the equity gaps in geographical access to health services, mortality rates for children in terms of still births, antenatal attendance services, and immunisation among others saw major improvements.

“Institutional all-cause mortality (death rate) also reduced from 3.1 in 2016 to 2.7 in 2017. Per capita out-patient Department (OPD) attendance increased from 1.1 in 2016 to 1.3 in 2017 exceeding the national target of 1.27.”

Mrs Sarpong mentioned other successes chalked and was hopeful more would achieved.

She stated that the region would put more strategies in place to achieve successes revealing that her outfit would also ensure the setting up of vetting teams in every facility to oversee timely submission of health insurance claims.

Mrs Sarpong expressed appreciation to all stakeholders who have contributed towards health care delivery in the region.

For his part in a speech read on his behalf, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Dafour stated that available statistics showed that maternal mortality was still high in the region and stressed on the need for a pragmatic approach in addressing the challenge.

“Improving maternal health care delivery requires a multiplicity of approaches that will not only strengthen health but also address social-cultural and economic challenges,” he said.

He added that improving client health provider-relationship can help decrease maternal mortality adding that the government would continue to work to mitigate challenges that confront health workers.

He, however, called on health workers to develop attitudes that attract expectant mothers to access health care facilities and thanked all stakeholders and the health directorate for their collaboration in ensuring quality health care in the region.

FROM AMA TEKYIWAA AMPADU-NYARKO, KOFORIDUA

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