Politicians ignore maternal mortality issues – Participants

Participants at a forum organised in Bolgatanga on Tuesday blamed political parties for showing little or no commitment on issues relating to maternal mortality.

The forum organised by the Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternative (PARDA) and the OXFAM Maternal Project, was to create a platform for citizens to engage political parties on what they had done on maternal mortality in the past and what their manifestoes say for elections 2012.

The participants including traditional authorities, assembly members, women groups, and opinion leaders, stressed the need for the various political parties to make the issue of maternal mortality one of the major cardinal principles in their manifestoes.

The participants, who expressed concern about the spate of maternal mortality in the country, called on government and other stakeholders to pay special attention to maternal mortality by providing all the necessary logistics and human resources in the health facilities, especially in the deprived areas.

They complained about the inadequate midwives and doctors in the northern part of the country and indicated the situation was very worrisome when doctors refused posting to the area.

The participants commended the OXFAM Maternal Project being implemented by PARDA in some selected communities in the Upper East Region and said it was yielding positive results as the Traditional Birth Attendants and Community Health Care Committees constituted and empowered by the project to ensure that every pregnant woman visited the health facility to deliver.

The representatives of the political parties, which include the National Democratic Congress, the New Patriotic Party, the People National Convention’s Party, the Convention People Party and the Progressive People Party agreed to issues on the maternal mortality raised and promised to improve upon their contributions towards addressing the problem.

The Country Director of Oxfam, Mr Sebastian Tiah, said the main focus of his outfit was working toward the elimination of the structural causes of poverty, making economic and social justice a top global priority and playing an active role in the global movement for a just world.

He said health was a human right and wondered why women in attempt to exercise their reproductive rights were made to die, stressing that it was unacceptable in this 21st century for a pregnant women to die when giving birth.

He indicated that the reasons for bringing the political parties to the forum was for a platform to be created for the citizens to engage the them  on their stake on maternal mortality.

“Oxfam will continue to provide such platforms even after the election for citizens to engage the duty bearers to demand for their rights”.

The OXFAM Maternal Project, which begun in March 2011 in the region had the first phase ending in March 2012.

It is currently running its second phase and would continue until March 2013. Its core objective is to reverse the spate of maternal and infant mortality in its areas of operation. The project areas include Bolgatanga Municipality, Bawku West and the Kassena-Nankana Districts.

Source: GNA

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