Dr Akwesi Twumasi, Northern Regional Director of Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said socio-cultural practices are the major obstacles to attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MGD) in the Northern region.
He said other impediments are inadequate health care facilities, equipment, personnel, road infrastructure and ignorance.
Dr Akwesi Twumasi said this during the three-day annual performance review of the GHS.
He explained that the MDG’s four and five deals with the reduction of Child Mortality and the Improvement of Maternal Health by the year 2015.
The meeting, which assembled development partners and various directors and staff from the 20 districts of the region, sought to take stock of their performances in the year 2011 and deliberate on how to address challenges the region was facing.
It was under the theme: “Going beyond Plans to Actions to Accelerate the Attainment of MDG Four and Five”.
Dr Twumasi described as saddening the figure for maternal death rose from 88 deaths in 2010 to 130 in 2011.
He said malaria continues to be the number one cause of Out Patient Department attendance, accounting for 39 per cent, a decreased from 44 per cent in 2010.
The reduction, he said was due to the various interventions including training, regular monitoring, supervision of malaria cases management and indoor residual spraying in most of the districts.
Dr Twumasi expressed worry that the region continued to be unattractive to health personnel, saying that out of the 33 posted to the region only 27 reported for duty.
He said the establishment of four Health Training Schools in the region had boosted the staff strength of the auxiliary nurses who had contributed significantly to health delivery.
Mr San Nasamu Asibigi, Deputy Northern Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf, said the high maternal deaths recorded in the year under review was a wake-up call to stakeholders in the reproductive and child health service delivery to work extra hard to reduce deaths.
He said it was unfortunate that some in-laws still choose delivery homes such as the tradition healers, camps and shrine for their daughters in-laws instead of taking them to health facilities.