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UNFPA decries rate of maternal deaths in Northern Region

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UNFPAThe United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has expressed worry about the increasing rate of maternal deaths in the Northern Region and called on stakeholders to take immediate measures to mitigate the situation.

Mr Jude Domosie, Programme Officer of the UNFPA in the Northern Region, said the Region has for the past seven years been recording alarming rates of maternal deaths stressing that: “we are in the second quarter of this year and the region has already recorded almost 70 maternal deaths”.

He said this in Tamale on Monday during a half-year review meeting of the UNFPA Country Programme (CP6) organised by the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC) to evaluate the progress and challenges of the programme.

The Country Programme (CP6) is a reproductive and maternal health project being implemented by the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DVVSU), Department of Gender, Ghana Health Services and the National Youth Authority as sub-implementers while the NRCC serves as the coordinator of the project with funding from the UNFPA.

Mr Domosie attributed the alarming rate of maternal mortalities to multifaceted factors and suggested the need for various stakeholders in the region to find solutions to the situation.

Mr Mumuni Damma, Principal Development Planning Officer at NRCC, said the project which started in 2014 with five districts in the Region, was now being implemented by Kpandai, Zabzugu and Bunkpurugu/Yunyoo Districts.

He said the effective collaboration among various stakeholders has improved the quality of the implementation of the project noting that “political commitment of the programme is very high”.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ASP) Mr Emmanuel Holortu, Northern Regional Coordinator for the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service (DVVSU), said the unit has carried out various sensitization activities in targeted communities of the Region on sexual rights, forced marriages and teenage pregnancies.

He said 10 cases of rape were reported since the beginning of this year, 12 cases of defilement, 3 cases of infant abandonment and one each case for compulsion of marriage and unsafe abortion.

He said in 2015, defilement cases recorded were 54, rape cases -17, infant abandonment cases -12 and 7 compulsion of marriage while 4 cases were recorded for unsafe abortions.

ASP Holortu said forced marriages exposed girls to domestic violence and induced by teenage pregnancies stressing that some victims of forced marriages employ desperate means of escape.

He appealed to opinion and traditional leaders in the area to collaborate with the unit to reduce domestic violence especially against women and children.

Source: GNA

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