Fear of CS worsens conditions of pregnant women with mental challenges – WHO

The condition of most pregnant women and girls with mental health disorders in the country worsened upon being told that they would undergo Caesarean Section (CS), a nationwide situational analysis on maternal mental health has revealed.

They go through serious emotional trauma, loss of appetite, low HP and sometimes died during pregnancy and labour, the analysis indicated.

It was conducted by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.

Dr Promise Sefogah, a Consultant to WHO on Maternal Mental Health in Ghana, disclosed this at a dissemination meeting of a maternal mental health situational analysis in Sunyani in the Bono Region.

“The mentioning of pre-term delivery also triggered a lot of worry and anxiety among the pregnant women,” he stated, and advised health workers to be mindful of their mode of communication with the pregnant women during Ante-natal and post-natal health clinics.

The meeting, organised by Ghana Health Service (GHS) with support from its partners, including WHO and UKAID for the middle zone, engaged participants, comprising health workers and allied professionals from the Ashanti, Ahafo, Bono East, Bono and Western North regions.

Dr Sefogah said pregnant women with mental health conditions needed much attention as the fear of going to the theatre and thoughts of surviving these surgeries made them anxious, thereby worsening their conditions.

“Just mentioning CS alone and the pains they might go through scares and leaves them in severe depression,” he stated, and encouraged the GHS to do more by creating counseling units to provide detailed services to patients on the procedures to mitigate their fears.

Dr Sefogah expressed concern over the high stigma, lack of screening logistics and personnel, as well as lack of training for health workers in the maternal mental health sector to deliver better services to patients.

He called for a national policy on maternal mental health to improve the condition and well-being of pregnant women and girls.

Dr Kwabena Kumi, a Deputy Director of Clinical Care at the Bono Regional Directorate of Health, expressed appreciation to the WHO for the intervention and hoped that the meeting would introduce appropriate measures to improve service delivery.

“We further expect the meeting to integrate routine assessment of the mental status of pregnant women in our preconception care, ANC and post-partum inventions,” he stated, and asked the media to support the GHS by serving as ambassadors in local communities.

Dr Joana Ansong, the Team Lead for Non-Communicable Diseases, WHO Ghana, urged the Government to prioritise maternal mental health to improve the well-being of pregnant women.

That would help control post-partum depression, stress and anxiety, often worsening the conditions of the pregnant women after delivery.

Source: GNA 

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