UW/R GHS poised to reduce maternal mortality

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Upper West Region is poised to reduce maternal mortality in the region to ensure that pregnant women delivered safely.

The Regional Director of health services, Dr Damien Punguyire, who made this known at an annual health sector performance review meeting said maternal mortality figures increased from 22 in 2020 to 26 in 2021.

The meeting was held at Wa on Wednesday on the theme “Improving maternal and perinatal health through effective maternal and perinatal death audit review in the Upper West Region.”

“With a steady rise in maternal mortality and an unimpressive decline in perinatal deaths irrespective of efforts by the service, it calls for a redirection of our focus and strategies,” he said.

The Director said the worrying situation led the Regional Health Authority (RHA) to focus attention on conducting quality death audits on maternal mortality cases.

“We want to concentrate efforts on conducting proper audits into the deaths to inform us of the actual cause of deaths and how to deal with the situation going forward in order to prevent same,” he expressed.

DrPunguyire hinted that to further tackle the situation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was working collaboratively with the RHA to build the capacity of health staff at the Upper West Regional Hospital to respond promptly to maternal, neo-natal and perinatal cases.

“The year under review also saw the posting of 993 medical and essential health service staff to the region for onward distribution to the various facilities and departments,” he announced.

He indicated that in addition,13 medical staff who left for further studies returned to the region to continue with their work and said their presence earned the region an accreditation from the Medical and Dental Council to receive and train house officers who were newly trained medical doctors.

“The medical staff who returned to the region included four pediatricians, three surgeons, one physician specialist and one pathologist and because of their presence we have already received 41 house officers at the Wa Municipal and Upper West Regional hospitals respectively,” he said.

He, however, lamented the inadequate number of critical medical staff at the various hospitals and said some of the hospitals had only one medical doctor who was mostly overworked and hardly made time for training and other capacity building meetings.

The Directorbemoanedthe skewed distribution of health staff in the region and the refusal of some personnel to accept posting to less developed areas, citing for instance, that the whole of the Wa East District was without a medical doctor, a situation he described as very disturbing.

He appealed to Municipal and District Chief Executives as well as Members of Parliament to support the RHA retain more staff indeprived areas by providing conducive accommodation for them.

The Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, for his part, encouraged the Service to form a strong audit team and provide them with the needed logistics to be able to perform the much needed quality audits and added a call for regular training of health staff, particularly midwives.

The meeting was also used to inaugurate the regional health committee which included DrPunguyire and some health stalwarts in the region.

FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA

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