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Health Director worried over high cases of teenage pregnancy in Central Region

Pregnant WomanThe Central Region recorded a total of 13,780   teenage pregnancy cases last year as against 13,059 in 2011, representing a 14.8 per cent increase.

Dr Samuel Kwashie, Regional Director Of health Services, who said this at the 2012 Central Regional Annual Performance Review Conference in Cape Coast, said legally most of the victims were defiled.

The three –day conference, which is being attended by district health directors, medical officers and administrators and student nurses among other stakeholders, is under the theme: “Scaling up Best Practices to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals”.

Dr Kwashie said what was more disturbing was that pregnancy among those aged 14 years and below increased from 165 in 2011 to 268 in 2012 representing 62.4 per cent increase.

He said it was unfortunate that the voice of society had fallen silent on the plight of such victims, leaving these vulnerable and defenceless children to their fate.

On maternal health, Dr Kwashie said for the first time in the history of the region, it was reporting a maternal mortality ratio of under 100 per 100,000 live births adding that the region also saw a decline in institutional maternal deaths  with a maternal mortality ratio of 116/100,000 live births in 2011 to 89/100,00 last year.

He said although the region  recorded such reductions  it did not  call for any celebration because  of their resolve and conviction as a regional  health  service that every maternal death from a preventable cause is unacceptable and must not be  allowed  to happen.

He appealed to all MMDs in the region to fulfill their pledge on the campaign on accelerated reduction of maternal mortality in Africa to help eliminate maternal mortality in the region.

He said the region recorded five confirmed measles cases last year as compared to two each in 2011 and 2010 and that the region had not recorded any cases of wild polio virus, guinea worm and yellow fever since the years 2000, 2002 and 2005.

On cholera the regional director said  in 2010 the region recorded  232  with 12 deaths, while in 2011, 575 cases with 10 deaths were recorded  with last year recording 154 cases with eight death from seven districts.

Dr Kwashie expressed concern about the increasing cases of HIV/AID and syphilis in the Central Region stressing that an annual HIV sentinel survey conducted by the National Aids Control Programme indicated that the HIV prevalence in the Central Region increased from 1.7%  in 2010 to 4.7%  in 2011 taking over from the Eastern Region as the highest HIV prevalence region in Ghana.

Dr Kwashie  said the region successfully carried out a number of child health related interventions including the introduction of the two new vaccines; the rotavirus vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine to protect the children from diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia respectively.

He said prompt medical care for children under five was very critical in the quest to achieve the fourth Millennium Development Goal and appealed to parents with children under five in particular and under 18 in general to get their children registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme to ensure quality health care.

He said it was unfortunate that the 2011 Ghana Multiple Indictor cluster survey finding showed that Central Region recorded the lowest coverage of 37.1 % of children under five who had registered with the NHIS and it was not surprising that the region recorded the highest coverage of 60 per cent  for children under five with fever who were not taken to any health facility.

He commended all the health workers in the region who had contributed to the quality health delivery and urged them to continue to discharge their duties and scale up best practices for 2013.

Mr George Frimpong, Coordinator, Ghana Federation of the Disabled, who presided, commended the Central Regional Health Directorate for engaging interpreters at the metropolitan and regional hospitals to address the needs of people with hearing impairments.

He also stressed the need for the health sector to come out with programmes that would help reduce extreme poverty in the country adding that most illnesses were caused by poverty and hunger.

He also challenged the Ghana Health Service to take up the fight against   sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and malaria.

Mr Frimpong called on parents and teachers to give sex education  particularly on HIV/AIDS both at school and homes to children to make them aware of the dangers of teenage pregnancy in order to reduce teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS in the region.

Madam Abigail Owusu, who read a speech on behalf I of the Central Regional Minister, Mr Emmanuel K.T Addo, said Africa, especially Ghana, was struggling to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and therefore sees the efforts of the GHS to achieving the goals as very remarkable.

He called on health workers to be committed to bringing quality health care to the door steps of the people and that the government would continue to give the health sector the needed assistance and support.

Source: GNA

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