High rate of maternal deaths worry health officials in Ashanti

The continuous rise in maternal deaths in hospitals every year in Ashanti, have raised concerns for the establishment of emergency obstetric readiness and response in all health facilities in the region to stem the surging phenomenon.

Health officials in the region fear the situation would make it difficult if not impossible to meet the deadline and achieve the numbers four (4) and five (5) of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which is just three years away.

For instance, a total of 253 pregnancy related deaths occurred in health facilities in the region as against 165 who died in 2010.

Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the only tertiary health facility recorded153 of these deaths while health facilities under the Ghana health Service (GHS) recorded a total of 100 deaths.

Dr Aaron Ofei, Regional Director of Health Services, said the situation is worrying and it is important for health workers to develop moral and professional responsibility to ensure that every pregnant woman who reported to their facilities to deliver walked home alive.

He said this when speaking at the opening of the 2011 annual regional health performance review meeting in Kumasi, on Tuesday.

The three-day meeting is under the theme “going beyond the action to results” and it aims at assessing the performance of health care services in the region and arrive at appropriate strategies for effective health care delivery in the region.

Dr Ofei said a number of interventions were initiated last year and these included included the setting up of Maternal Mortality Taskforce, comprising obstetricians and gynecologists as well as experienced midwives to support districts on zonal basis adding that plans to set up regional blood bank to help organize, store and distribute blood toGHS facilities is also on course.

The regional health directorate is also collaborating effectively with KATH to review areas of common interest with the ultimate aim of improving the health status of the people in the region.

Dr Ofei said the region also recorded an outbreak of meningococcal meningitis and that out of the 21 cases reported, seven (7) lives were lost.

He said two cases of Lassa fever, the first of its kind in Ghana were also recorded in the Amansie west district last year but with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), the district was able to mount active case search in the district to contain it.

Dr Ofei expressed concern about the number of uncompleted capital projects in some health facilities in the region and said the early completion of these projects would help improve access to health care delivery and help transform the face of health care in the region and reduce pressure on KATH.

He said the regional directorate plans to provide specialist services in selected hospitals such as Manhyia, Tafo, Kumasi South, Suntreso and Mampong hospitals to serve as training sites for housemanship programme adding that, plans are on course to establish centres of excellence at all service delivery points.

Dr Kwaku Agyeman Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister in an address read for him, reminded health workers of their role in supporting the government to achieve the MDG 4 and 5.

He said the government was committed towards supporting the health sector to enhance access to quality health care and advised the participants, especially those in rural communities, to bring out issues peculiar to their areas out for discussion and possible solution.

Source: GNA

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