It is estimated that about 957 women die annually in Ghana through maternal morbidities, Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyo, a Gynaecologist at Ridge Hospital said on Wednesday.
According to him, reports had shown that Ashanti Region recorded the highest maternal mortality with 222 deaths in 2008 followed by the Greater Accra and Western Regions with 167 and 101 deaths respectively.
Dr. Srofenyo announced these at a three-day capacity building workshop on Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EMONC) and the Seven Billion Campaign for journalists at Dodowa in the Ga Dangme District.
He said: “Out of 35 cases of maternal morbidities reported, one person is at risk of dying”.
Dr. Srofenyo said the four most frequent common maternal morbidities recorded were Fistula, Anaemia, Infertility and Chronic Pelvic Pain.
The workshop, organised by United Nation Population Fund was aimed at updating knowledge of journalists on EMONC and provide comprehensive information on the Seven Billion Campaign to increase media reportage and public sensitization.
It seeks to provide skills, identify and report on reproductive health, and provide opportunity to participants to visit health facility for first-hand information on provision of EMONC.
Dr. Srofenyo said approximately 600,000 maternal deaths were recorded globally per minute adding that 99 percent of this epidemic was recorded in developing world whiles only one per cent was recorded in the developed countries.
He said the issue of unacceptably high maternal mortality in developing countries had remained an unrelenting challenge to major world bodies and advocates over the past decades and threatened to remain so over decades to come.
“In 2005, there were estimated 536,000 maternal deaths worldwide”, Dr. Srofenyo said.
According to him, the prevalence of several of these risk factors in Ghana was that most of the patients reported very late to health facilities and came with advanced cases when the situation was largely incurable and likely to end up in death.
He said that reasons that contributed to late reporting of cases included refusal by some drivers to convey pregnant women with complication for fear of soiling their vehicles or the women dying in the vehicle.
“Some patients simply do not know the signs and symptoms and also fear of being mistreated by health personnel”, said Dr. Srofenyo.
He said health institutions in the country also lacked emergency preparedness and experienced shortage of adequate and skilled personnel.
Dr. Srofenyo said maternal mortality could be reduced when current approaches such as skilled attendant at delivery and provision of emergency obstetric care services were adopted.
He explained that “Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) are useful in maternal health network, but there will not be substantial reduction in maternal mortality by TBAs delivery clinical services alone”.
Dr. Srofenyo advised that “women should not be made to carry pregnancy against their wishes and those who develop complications should have rapid access to EMONC services to ensure achievement of the Millennium Development Goal five.”