The First Lady, Mrs Ernestina Naadu Mills, has said Ghana could meet the millennium development goal of reducing maternal deaths by the year 2015.
She said despite the slow pace of reduction and childbearing still being dangerous in Ghana, with the concerted efforts of all stakeholders over the next few years, the target would be achieved.
Mrs Mills was addressing the joint launch of the International Midwives Day and the “Atlas at Birth”, a new strategy supported by some development partners in reducing maternal deaths to meet the MDGs 4 and 5 targets at Odumase-Krobo.
The First Lady, who had been occupied with maternal death reduction campaign over the years, said with the institution of the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) initiated in Ghana in defense of access to maternal health services, the reduction could be achieved.
Mrs Mills called on all stakeholders across the sectors to work together to build national capacity, engage communities and strengthen national systems in the quest to achieve the millennium development goal 4 and 5.
She said although she was optimistic of achieving the target, there was the need as a country to invest in midwives to develop their human resource base and capacity because the midwives, who she described as the pillar in reducing maternal deaths, could not be ignored at this crucial time.
The International Midwives Day falls on every May 3 and is celebrated worldwide to assess the achievements of midwives and their challenges in achieving the set target of maternal death reduction in developing countries.
The Theme for this year is “Midwives saves lives- Invest in midwifery” and the occasion was jointly used to launch the Atlas at Birth.
The Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi, said the core of the better Ghana agenda was human resource development and therefore the government would not relent in increasing resources to develop the capacity of midwives to save lives.
He said the challenges confronting midwives in Ghana was not a problem for the health sector alone, but an issue that cut across the socio-economic agenda since Ghana is a signatory to the International declaration of zero tolerance to maternal death.
Mrs Joyce Jetuah, the national president of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA), said midwives were providing 71% of ante-natal services to the public but only 57% delivered at facilities due to inaccessibility to health centres and other challenges that pregnant women face in Ghana.
She said the midwives in Ghana had adopted several strategies over the years to support the reduction of maternal mortality from 740/100,000 births in the 1990s to 350/100,000 births in 2008 even in the face of inadequate number of midwives in the country.
She appealed to the government to train more midwifery tutors who in turn would train more midwives to meet their demand particularly in rural areas where referral systems and facilities are not the best.