Health professionals and transport operators in the Central Region have affirmed their commitment to reduce maternal mortality in the region by supporting the transportation of pregnant women to health facilities within the region.
They have, therefore, called for a review of an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) that allowed members of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and other transport unions to offer services to pregnant women who are in labour or need critical healthcare.
They made the commitment at a stakeholders meeting on activities under the MoU organised by the Regional Health Directorate in Cape Coast.
It was attended by district directors of health, members of the GPRTU, midwives and officials from the Regional Health Directorate.
The Central Regional health administration in 2005, signed an MoU with transport unions under which drivers are to transport women in labour to health centres as part of its move to reduce the high maternal mortality in the region.
The initiative helped in reducing preventable maternal deaths as it made available the mobile phone numbers of taxi drivers for expectant mothers particularly in hard to reach areas to be picked up to hospital promptly when they were due or develop any complications.
In his remarks, the acting Regional Director of Health, Dr Kwabena Sarpong, alluded to the fact that, the implementation of the MoU since 2005 had contributed in a reduction of maternal mortality in the region.
The success chalked with the introduction of the initiative, he said, demonstrated that, transportation constitute a major challenge in reducing maternal mortality.
He noted that the distribution of the one-ambulance per constituency by the government would contribute in offering relief to people in need of medical care but was quick to say that, the role of the taxi drivers was critical as it would help in providing support for pregnant women.
Dr Sarpong urged the drivers at the sub-district level to support efforts geared towards ensuring a reduction in maternal mortality as wel as all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to support the initiative in order to offer critical help to pregnant women in labour in their communities.
He further urged midwives to exhibit professionalism in their engagements with drivers to encourage them to sacrifice and send expectant mothers to their facilities.
Ms Bernice Ampimah, the UNFPA Coordinator and a Public Health Educator, for her part, underscored the need to bring back an award scheme which was organised some years ago to motivate the drivers to give off their best, and appealed to the drivers to be patient when they transport pregnant women to the health facilities.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST