Dr. Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, Director in-charge of Human Resource for Health Development of the Ministry of Health (MOH), has advocated the training of more midwives to improve the midwife patient ratio which now stands at 1:7,200.
This means that the health sector needs an additional 8,000 midwives to fill the gap if maternal health is to be developed to an appreciable standard.
Existing Midwifery training facilities would therefore have to be expanded to admit more students for training whiles other interventions for capacity building for practising midwives are also put in place.
Dr. Appiah-Denkyira was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Kumasi on the development of a proposed Bachelor of Science in Midwifery Programme to be run by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The Programme is due to start in the 2011/2012 Academic year and would train midwives to perform midwifery functions more effectively and efficiently as members of the health-care team.
It is also designed to train midwives to serve as potential workforce for further development as researchers in reproductive health issues.
Key areas of the programme to be run under the course include; Clinical Competencies, Community Midwifery, Management and Research, Independent Practice and Domiciliary Midwifery.
Dr. Appiah-Denkyira expressed concern at the high maternal mortality rate especially among women in rural communities, noting that this was a disincentive to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on health by 2015.
Ghana’s maternal mortality rate currently stands at 560 per 100,000 live births while only 43 per cent of births in rural areas are assisted by skilled providers due to inadequate access to Obstetric care.
The Director indicated that with the training of adequate midwives, the nation would benefit tremendously as it would enhance access to trained birth attendants, emergency obstetric care, surgical interventions as well as avoiding deaths or disability from complications of pregnancy and child-birth.
Mrs. Victoria Bam, Head of Nursing Department, KNUST, proposed to the University to endeavour to admit 30 per cent of the Midwifery students as sponsored students from deprived areas when the Programme starts.
This, she said, would go a long way to improve retention of midwives in deprived communities while also increasing access to quality maternal care in those areas.