A deputy minister has appealed to the Health Ministry to take interest in a recent publication by the Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) which alleges that many women continue to deliver outside health facilities despite the introduction of Free Maternal Health Care.
Mr. Alfred Ekow Gyan, Deputy Western Regional Minister, said this on Monday when opening a forum on the Millennium Development Goals Accelerated Framework organized by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for stakeholders at Takoradi.
The report said this phenomenon was partly due to the existence of some related “hidden cost” at health facilities despite the removal of service charges under the National Health Insurance Programme.
“The Health Ministry should take interest in the report and act to remove such “hidden cost” if they exist at all,” he said.
Mr. Gyan said the attainment of maternal mortality target of 185 per live births would elude the country if challenges of the health sector persist.
These challenges include inadequate health professionals and personnel, insufficient budgetary allocation, slow pace of revolution within the National Health Insurance System, slow expansion of health professionals training facilities and brain drain.
Mr Gyan said improving maternal health and reducing child mortality required commitment towards a concrete set of actions based on principles of sustainability and resilience, adding the government would “continue to fuse various strategies and actions into an integrated national agenda to enable the country leverage on past successes while effectively using the limited resources available”.
Dr. Anim Karikari, acting Western Regional Director of Health Services, said the Region had chalked some successes in improving maternal health and reducing child mortality but efforts must be re-doubled to achieve the Millennium Development Goal maternal mortality target of 185 deaths per 100,000 births.
He said the causes of maternal deaths included bleeding, infections and hypertension and that evidence-based package of interventions and services are being put in place under the Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) project to save the lives of mothers and the new born.
Dr Karikari said the EmONC project is tackling direct health system issues affecting maternal and child health.
The facility attains EmONC status when it performs “Signal functions” including “Parentera antibiotcs, parenteral oxylocics, removal of retained products, assisted or instrumental vaginal delivery, blood transfusion and cesarean deliver”.