Severe bleeding said to account for maternal deaths in Ghana

Dr. Elias Sory, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, on Monday said about 3,500 women died every year in Ghana from pregnancy related causes.

He mentioned Post Partum haemorrhage (severe bleeding), which accounted for 29 percent, as the leading cause of deaths (GHS Annual Report 2009).

Dr. Sory said this in a speech read for him at a stakeholders’ meeting on the Misoprostol project in Sunyani.

The two-year pilot project, being implemented in Sene in Brong-Ahafo Region, Komenda-Edina-Eguafu-Abirem in Central Region, as well as Birim South and Upper Manya in the Eastern Region, is aimed at reducing maternal mortality by ensuring that all women who delivered at home have access to Misoprostol.

Misprostol is a tablet that can be administered orally, rectally and sublingually and is a proven uterotonic increasingly used for post partum haemorrhage control at the community level.

Dr. Sory said the major contributory factor to maternal mortality is the low coverage of skilled birth attendants, the ratio being one midwife to 1,510 pregnant women and one doctor to 17,733 people and 1,439 health facilities for 22 million Ghanaians.

He said due to inadequate skilled staff and other reasons most women especially those in the rural areas continued to deliver with the traditional birth attendants, adding 15 out of every 100 pregnancies were likely to have obstetric complications (World Health Organisation report 2007).

“The high maternal mortality rate of 451 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births is unacceptable and the ratio is even higher in the rural areas particularly in northern Ghana”, Dr. Sory added.

He said it was against this background that the government had adopted some global legislations and policies such as the Safe Motherhood Initiative to help bring the situation under control.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Deputy Director, Family Health Division of the GHS, explained that in order to increase access and availability of misoprotol, the GHS was being supported with technical and financial assistance by Venture Strategies Innovations, a California based NGO to undertake the project.

The project, he explained, involved the distribution of the tablets at the antenatal clinics and other health centres in the implementing districts.

Source: GNA

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