Pregnant women and children under five years, in the Upper West Region are thwarting the government's effort to reduce the incidence of malaria in the country, alleges Dr Kofi Issah, Deputy Upper West Regional Director of Health.
“They have refused to use the treated mosquito nets distributed free to them by the Regional Health Directorate, claiming that the nets are not airy,” he said.
He explained that the nets, which are in a rectangular form and meant for beds, are not suitable for the mats being used by most of the residents.
Dr Issah was briefing a 12-member delegation from the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, who were on a five-day fact-finding mission to the region on Monday.
The team, led by Group Captain Augustine Lartey Lawson, was in the region to assess the impact of policies initiated by government for the people.
Dr Issah said in spite of the high rate of distribution of the treated nets, high cases of malaria were still being recorded in health facilities.
Most of the nets “are put under boxes,” he said, adding that the people claimed that even if they slept under the nets, they would still be out of them and be bitten by the mosquitoes hence there was no need sleeping under the nets.
He disclosed that 8.2 per cent of deaths recorded in health facilities in the region among children were as the result of malaria and called on traditional rulers, assembly members and stakeholders to join the health directorate to use the treated nets besides observing clean and health surroundings.
That, he noted, would help reduce the incidence of malaria and the over stretching of the limited number of doctors and nurses in the region.
Dr Issah described the 94 maternal deaths recorded last year in the region as “highly unacceptable”.
Lamenting that one in 37 women died through pregnancy related ailments in the region, he urged pregnant women to visit health facilities regularly and to also report early when in labour.
Dr Issah further stated that Wa East, Wa West, Sissala West and Lambussie-Karni had no facilities for blood transfusion especially for pregnant women and called for the provision of such facilities to help save lives during child bearing.
He said though the National Health Insurance Scheme had increased access to health care quality care indicators had not improved due to increased work load on health personnel.
He explained that most of the midwives in the region's health facilities were above age 40 and handled over 20 instead of 10 patients in a ward.
He suggested the institution of incentive packages for doctors and nurses who accepted postings to deprived areas to attract and retain health personnel to help improve quality health care delivery services in the region.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Winifred Dy-Yakah, hoped the team's findings and recommendations would help address issues militating against the progress and development of the area.