Ashanti Region leads in maternal mortality cases in Ghana

A two-day conference to discuss and solicit views on how to tackle the soaring maternal deaths in the Ashanti Region, has opened in Kumasi.

The region currently leads in maternal mortality in the country, recording 252 cases in 2011 and 122 as of the middle of this year.

The situation has become a source of worry to health authorities and they are looking for effective strategies and the support of all key stakeholders to bring it down.

Health workers, development partners, traditional rulers, District Chief Executives (DCE), transport associations, media, officials from the Department of Feeder Roads and Ghana Highway Authority and other civil society groups, are attending the conference, being held under the auspices of the regional health directorate.

“Every pregnancy counts: All hands on deck” is the theme.

Madam Animah Wilson, the Deputy Regional Minister, in an address read for her at the opening, said many strategies had been implemented by the government and non-governmental organizations over the years to reduce maternal deaths.

She said these included focused antenatal care, friendly-labour concept, forming maternal health taskforce, training staff on safe motherhood, maternal death audit and follow up, behavioral change communication, family planning and comprehensive abortion care services.

She said the successes chalked were not encouraging and there was the need for all stakeholders to make conscious effort to deal with the menace.

Madam Animah said the conference was to create awareness, identify possible measures and actions to be taken to drastically reduce the number of mothers who die through labour.

Dr Aaron Offei, the Regional Director of Health Services, said the health managers were worried about the continued rise in maternal deaths within the last three years.

He said while antenatal care coverage in the region keeps rising (84.3 per cent), and the free delivery facility to pregnant women, skilled delivery rate at hospitals was declining (45.9 per cent).

Dr Offei also complained about the poor state of health facilities in the region compared with others across the country and said it was time to adopt effective measures to address the problem.

Dr Idrisa Sow, World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, said maternal mortality could be properly addressed if there was strong health system with healthy, dedicated human resource.

He praised Ghana for adopting appropriate measures to curb the exodus of health professionals to other nations, noting that, the country has enough quality human resource to deal with the maternal deaths.

Nana Boakye Yam II, Chief of Nkwantakese in the Afigya-Kwabre District, urged health workers to design effective strategies and intensify community education to reduce the menace.

Source: GNA

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