Maternal mortality decline in UER

Maternal mortality rate in the Upper East Region saw a sharp decline from 137 per 100,000 live births in 2017 to 91 last year.

The region has also seen improvement in antenatal and post natal care indicators with skilled delivery and immunisation indices reaching 79 and 81 per cent respectively in the last two years.

Regional Health Director, Dr Winfred Ofosu, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, attributed the development, among others, to the roll out of the Community-Based Primary Health Care through CHPS Strengthening (CHPS+) project by the Government of Korea.

The 5-year project being spearheaded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in partnership with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), aims at enhancing community engagement, improving quality of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health service and strengthening the health environment in all 13 districts of the region.

At a midline review workshop to assess progress of the project in Accra on Wednesday, Dr Ofosu noted the improvement in CHPS zones, which hitherto were less endowed, equipment and logistical supply, skills level of health workers and monitoring systems in the region as a result of the project.

He, however, observed the need to strengthen capacity of sub-district health management teams in CHPS zones, urging the district assemblies to construct more compounds in the regions to reach more community members.

“One issue too is that the project does not focus on family planning which is a key component to reducing maternal and neonatal mortality and also the scope is on 120 CHPS compared to 500 we have in the region, so in terms of impact we are reaching less people,” Dr Ofosu said.

The Regional Director said, moving forward the region hoped to “improve antenatal care, strengthen systems so that no mother dies and also work with community leaders to mobilise adequate blood for transfusions for mothers and babies at our facilities.

We are also looking at improving care for newborns where critical care can be readily available for pre-term babies while strengthening other areas. We want the region to be a model for healthcare for others to emulate in the nearest future,” he stated.

Director-General of the GHS, Dr Nsiah-Asare in a remark, said the service was committed to scaling up health interventions across the country to strengthen primary healthcare to achieve universal health coverage (UHC).

The service, according to him, would soon come out with a primary healthcare package as part of the country’s UHC roadmap to ensure a comprehensive health system.

Dr Nsiah-Asare for instance singled out the e-tracker module currently being implemented in the Upper East Region which he said had proven to be of enormous benefit in obtaining accurate health data for decision making, pointing out the need for the system to be replicated in all regions.

“We are going to ensure that in the 2020 budget there is money made available for e-tracker to help us with right quality and timely data for decision making,” he said, assuring that other areas including research, community engagement and logistical support would be improved to meet health targets.

Country Director of KOICA, Mr Yukyum Kim, was happy the project had achieved milestones since its implementation and hoped that gains made so far would be sustained long after the project ends come 2020.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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