Maternal deaths decline in Upper East Region

Ghana Health Service (GHS) says maternal deaths have declined significantly in the Upper East Region within the first 10-months of 2022. 

It explains that at the end of October 2022, the region recorded 22 deaths, compared to the 39 recorded the same period in 2021 and 42 deaths for the whole of last year. 

The GHS attributes the feat to the many interventions it is rolling out at the regional, district and community levels with its partners in the region. 

Dr Josephat Nyuzaghl, the Deputy Regional Director of GHS in charge of Public Health, announced this in Bolgatanga at the launch of a STAR-Ghana Gender Rights and Empowerment Project (G-REP) organised by the Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment (RISE-Ghana), a non-governmental organisation. 

The three-year project with funding support from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is aimed at strengthening health committees and citizen groups to champion access to quality maternal health in the Talensi and Nabdam Districts. 

Dr Nyuzaghl underscored the need for collective and sustained efforts from all stakeholders to consolidate the gains made in reducing maternal deaths. 

 He, however, said the eastern corridor of the region, comprising the Bawku enclave, had in recent years recorded high maternal deaths and noted that lack of district hospitals to serve as referral facilities and other critical health professionals contributed to that problem. 

 He expressed the hope that the government’s agenda 111 and the move by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council to task all the Municipal and Districts in the region to take measures to attract medical doctors to their respective areas would help to address the problem and improve upon maternal and child health. 

“Last year, more than 50 per cent of the deaths came from Bawku, Pusiga, Tempane, Garu, Binduri and Zebilla enclaves but a lot of work has gone on at the community level to try to encourage women  to report early for antenatal care and get the minimum package for pregnant women,” he added.

Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, the Executive Director, RISE-Ghana, said apart from the country’s agenda of achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals called for the need to prioritise and improve healthcare delivery systems, especially at the health facility level for improved maternal health. 

To this end, he said the project sought to mobilise women, girls and citizen groups, including civil society organisations and the media, to champion issues of maternal health financing and policy implementation to ensure that the services provided at the healthcare facilities were quality and accessible. 

He said as part of the project, the facility health committees in 14 sub-districts and health facilities in the two districts would be strengthened to use the scorecard to help them develop action plans.

“We want to further use these action plans to influence the budget and plans of the local district assemblies in Talensi and Nabdam as well as engage the private sector actors. 

“We want to create an enabling environment and local dialogue around increasing financing for maternal health service delivery,” MrKariama added.  -GNA

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