Maternal, newborn health forum held in Tema

Mr.Kwaku Agyeman-Manu,Minister of Health designateReligious leaders have been advised against attributing pregnancy related health complications to spiritual causes as that could lead to the death of expectant mothers.

Dr. Sylvia Deganus, Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialist at the Tema General Hospital (TGH), giving the advice at a maternal and newborn health stakeholders’ forum in Tema, said such spiritual attributions worsen conditions of pregnant women.

Dr. Deganus stated that it was sad when some pregnant women refuse to undergo caesarean sessions due to some false hopes their religious leaders might have given them.

She therefore urged religious leaders to encourage their congregants to attend antenatal and immediately report any emergencies to the nearest hospital instead of keeping them at prayer camps and attributing their conditions to spiritual forces.

She reminded women that, pregnancy changes every part of the body therefore, they must be conscious of the expected changes throughout the three trimesters of pregnancy.

The specialist also cautioned women against bleaching of their skin during pregnancy as changes to the skin was part of hormonal changes during the expectant period stressing that bleaching only aggravated it.

According to her other complications brought on by pregnancy included ectopic, hypertension (pre-eclampsia), and diabetes, among others.

She stressed that having swellings on the face, hands and feet during pregnancy did not mean an expectant mother would have a baby boy but rather signs of severe blood pressure which could lead to sudden convulsions and pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.

Dr. Deganus announced that the TGH recorded about 900 miscarriages during 2016 adding that one out of every five pregnancy miscarriage naturally.

She pleaded with pregnant women to report any discharge of blood during the expectant period as 47 per cent of recorded maternal deaths at the TGH in 2016 were as a result of bleeding.

Twenty-seven per cent of maternal mortality were also caused by hypertension, while sickle cell and other conditions accounted for the rest. Eight die before taken to the hospital.

She encouraged women with medical conditions such as HIV, hypertension, sickle cell disease, diabetes, anaemia and heart diseases to seek advice from their doctors before getting pregnant as such conditions could be aggravated during pregnancy.

Dr. Deganus reminded pregnant women to immediately report to the hospital when they see any of the danger signs which included severe headache especially with face, hand and body swelling.

Other signs are vaginal bleeding, water leakage, abdominal pains, excessive vomiting, being in labour for more than 24 hours,dizziness and feeling faint.

The Specialist also cautioned pregnant women against buying wayside medicines but rather stick strictly to medications given them by their midwives and doctors.

To decongest the maternity ward of the Tema General Hospital, Dr Deganus appealed to organisations and the public to help furnish a 40-bed capacity ward constructed for the hospital by the Tema Metropolitan Assembly which was yet to be filled with the needed beds.

Meanwhile, the hospital recorded a total of 15,294 malaria cases in 2016, the leading cause of TGH Out Patient Department (OPD) attendance.

Gynaecological conditions followed with 9,492, hypertension; 6,977, acute eye condition; 6,909, pregnancy related; 6,107, diabetic; mellitus, 3,071; while rheumatism and joints accounted for 2,268.

Other top ten diseases were upper respiratory tract infection, 2,249; road traffic accidents, 1,925, and acute ear infections, 1,546, GNA

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