Kumasi records 38 maternal deaths in first quarter 2012
Health authorities in Kumasi, have expressed unhappiness with the growing rate of maternal deaths in the metropolis.
As of the end of the first quarter of the year 2012 , 38 women had died in the course of childbirth, compared with 16 deaths recorded during the same period in year 2011.
Thirty four of the cases occurred at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the largest tertiary health institution serving the northern sector of the country.
While some of the health officials are blaming the worrying situation on the confusion surrounding the insurance capitation system being piloted in the Ashanti Region, others attribute it to neglect and lack of adequate maternal health infrastructure at the district and other smaller public health facilities.
Most private health providers in the region have decided not to have anything doing with the insurance capitation and given the inadequate maternal health facilities, a lot of pressure is being put on KATH, which has its own logistical challenges.
Dr Kwasi Awudzi Yeboah, the Metropolitan Director of Health Services, summing up their frustrations, said they are overwhelmed by the more than 100 per cent rise in deaths among pregnant women who go into labour.
He told a performance review meeting of the metropolitan health directorate that urgent action is needed to turn the situation around.
He suggested an immediate suspension of the insurance capitation system to allow all stakeholders to brainstorm and find a common ground, to fine-tune the implementation of the new payment system to enhance access to quality health care.
Dr Awudzi Yeboah said after three months of pilot implementation, there is the need to pause and critically examine the progress and challenges.
He complained about the loss of revenue to public health facilities resulting from the insurance capitation saying it was affecting quality health care services as well as the provision of some vital infrastructure in the hospitals.
Dr Awudzi Yeboah also appealed to the government and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), as a matter of urgency, to provide medical equipment and other facilities to enhance the operation of the district hospitals and other health centres.
He said they should be equipped to adequately and efficiently respond to maternal health cases.
This, he said, is the only way to reduce pressure on KATH and thereby save the lives of women and children.