The Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, has called on Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), to desist from the practice of giving pregnant women herbs and concoctions to induce or quicken the pace of labour, which often resulted in the death of both mother and child.
The practice, which he said was rampant in rural areas was a major factor that accounted for the region's high infant and maternal mortality rate.
The concoction or herbs known in the local language as "nasuge" is usually mixed with water or porridge and given to the pregnant woman to induce or quicken the pace of labour.However, this often results in the death of either the mother or the child or both.
Mothers who survive also suffer other medical compli-cations including raptured uterus.
Mr Dery made the call when he inaugurated an ¢836 million Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound and an accommodation facility for a Community Health Officer at Katua in the Wa East District here on Thursday.
The Catholic Relief Service, Ghana, contributed ¢90 million towards the CHPS compound while the Assembly provided the bulk amount of ¢363 million from its share of the Common Fund.The nurse's accommodation facility whose cost was put at ¢383 million was funded under the District Wide Assistance Project.
Mr Dery said, unless there was a drastic change of attitude and behaviour from TBAs at the local community level towards pregnant women in labour, efforts by the Regional Co-ordinating Council and the Regional Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Service to reduce infant mortality would not be attained.
The Upper West Region has the highest infant and child mortality rate of 208 deaths per 1000 live births as against the national figure of 111 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Mr Dery said the region had set itself a target to reduce the high rate of infant mortality from 208 deaths to 104 by 2008 and would spare no effort towards achieving that goal.
He called on health personnel, traditional rulers and citizens to join the crusade and fight against infant and maternal mortality adding "with tremendous support from the donor community we cannot afford to fail."
The Regional Minister called for the intensification of public education on negative cultural practices against women.
Mr Joseph Bolibia, District Director of Health Service, said the CHPS concept had resulted in the improvement in access and quality health care delivery to the people.
Mr Bolibia said the concept had led to reduction in common illness such as malaria, diarrhoea and measles, and very high coverage of immunisation and improvement in acceptance and use of modern contracep-tives.
The District Chief Executive for Wa East, Mr Issahaku Adams, said out of 21 CHPS compounds earmarked for the district, four had been completed and occupied while two are under construc-tion at Kpaglaghi and Sanyawkura communities.
Mr Adams said health to the people remains a priority on the agenda of the Assembly and that efforts were being made to build more CHPS compounds to bring health care delivery services to the doorsteps of deprived and inaccessible communities.