Dr. Aba Folson, a Cardiologist at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH), Tema, has revealed that women with hypertension have a higher risk of giving birth to preterm babies and a lower birth weight, which makes the children prone to other temporal and long-term complications, including death.
"Hypertension was a leading cause of maternal, and neonatal mortality and morbidity, which usually occurs during the late stages of pregnancy as a result of physiological changes in pregnancy," Dr. Folson stated.
Dr. Folson said this at the weekly "Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility! A Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative aimed at promoting health-related communication and providing a platform for health information dissemination to influence personal health choices through improved health literacy was monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.
The Ghana News Agency's Tema Regional Office developed the public health advocacy platform "Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility" to investigate the components of four health communication approaches: informing, instructing, convincing, and promoting.
Dr. Folson was speaking on the topic, "Measure blood pressure accurately, control it, and leave longer," stressed that pregnancy-induced hypertension, when not treated, affects the growth and survival of the unborn baby, as
adding that although there were some women who might have hypertension disappear after delivery, others still experienced it.
She called on such people not to stop going for treatments and taking prescribed medications.
She encouraged pregnant women to start antenatal care immediately so as to manage any unforeseen disorder as soon as it is detected, stressing that failure to have the health professionals manage it could lead to the disease reoccurring in the future.
"Pregnancy-induced hypertension must be diagnosed; it is diagnosed when the woman presents herself for antenatal care; it will be mandatorily checked; other tests will be done," she stated.
Dr. Folson cautioned pregnant women to adopt good eating habits and do regular exercise to help manage the disorder, as it could not be prevented.
She called on husbands and family members to offer their support to both pregnant women and nursing mothers, as stress could contribute to hypertension.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Regional Manager of Ghana News Agency Tema, explained that "Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility" is part of a collaborative effort to establish a means for the dissemination of health information.
He said existing evidence indicates that mass media efforts to improve public health can help increase awareness of a health problem, raise the level of information about health topics, and make a health topic or problem more salient, thereby sensitizing the public.
Mr. Ameyibor, therefore, called on both the traditional and social media managers to devote some time to engaging health professionals to educate the public, saying that "the education we offer today through our media platform may save a life tomorrow."
—CDA Consult II Contributor