The Ghana Statistical Service in collaboration with the Ghana Health Services and the development partners last Thursday launched the Ghana Maternal Health Survey, which showed a reduction in the key health indicators in the country: Maternal and Infant Mortality (death) ratios.

The survey showed that maternal mortality, which refers to the number of women who die in pregnancy, giving birth and 42 days after delivery, had reduced to 310 per 100,000 live births from the over 500 per 100,000 live births, a decade ago.

According to the survey results carried out last October, Infant mortality (under one year deaths) had declined by half, from 77 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1988 to 37 in 2017, when the survey was carried out, while under-five mortality had decreased threefold, from 155 to 52 deaths per 1,000 live births. Equally, one in every 19 Ghanaian children do not survive to their fifth birthday.

Significantly, the health managers have worked tirelessly to get these health indicators reduced from the harrowing figures in the 1990s, however, much more remains to be done in the health sector, to save our women from the preventable deaths.

Indeed, Ghana missed out on the targets set for it under the Millennium Development Goals which ended in 2015 and was replaced with the more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of the SDGs, the country is obliged, as a signatory to the global Agenda 2030, to further reduce maternal mortality rate to 70 per 100, 000 live births and under-five mortality to 25 per 1,000 live births.

This implies more work by health professionals, as well as more commitment from the government to resource allocation to the cause and to motivating the health professionals to deliver on the deliverables.

Although globally, maternal and under-five mortalities are said to have reduced, the figures are  still unacceptably high, especially in  sub-Saharan Africa, as compared to the Asian and North Africa regions which have done so well to keep the ratios at bay.

The Word Health Organisation has assigned the causes of maternal deaths as severe bleeding (mostly bleeding after child birth), infections (usually after child birth), high blood pressure during pregnancy, complications from delivery and unsafe abortion. Malaria and HIV/AIDs in pregnancy are also causes.

Yet again, poverty, outlandish locations of health institutions and care providers, lack of information, inadequate services, and inhibitive cultural practices all prevent women from receiving or seeking care during pregnancy and child birth.

We are aware that the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 launched the Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescent Health, 2016-2030, under the SDGs to end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents and create an environment in which these groups would not only survive, but thrive in serene and environmentally friendly countries and communities, with their health and wellbeing transformed and guaranteed.

We note with appreciation the support from development partners to our health sector,   towards achieving the SDGs.

We urge the government to expand healthcare delivery, especially to the rural and underserved communities, in order to achieve the anticipated universal coverage, to improve the health status of the people.

The Community-based Health Planning and Services, popularly referred to as CHIPs compounds have been found to be very effective in healthcare delivery, especially at the doorsteps of the clients.

We, therefore, urge the government to commit more resources to this strategic healthcare intervention, to enable it contribute affectively towards improving the country’s health outcomes.

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