At least 30 women die annually at the Tema General Hospital (TGH) through maternal mortality, with severe haemorrhage or profuse bleeding identified as the major cause of all such deaths in Tema metropolis.
This was disclosed by the only Gynaecologist at the TGH, Dr. Sylvia Deganus, when she addressed a public dialogue on Maternal Health at the Assembly Hall of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) last Wednesday.
The Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health, which was organised by the Ghana MDGs/GCAP Campaign Coalition, in collaboration with the TMA and Ghana Health Service (GHS), was aimed at creating the awareness of maternal mortality amongst the public, in order to get everybody on board for its prevention.
Speaking at the function, Dr. Deganus disclosed that seven deaths, which include four from womb convulsion, two from loss of blood, and the other from HIV/AIDS, were recorded in the last three months, between May and July, at the hospital.
The dialogue, which was the first of its kind to be organised in the metropolis in the year, saw the participation of both men and women from the various community groups in and outside the metropolis.
Speaking on the theme “Maternal Health in Ghana; the Case of Tema,” Dr. Deganus also stated high blood pressure as another common cause of maternal deaths adding, “When the pregnant woman notices that she is swelling, she ignores the changes and consoles herself with the fact that she might be pregnant with a male child, hence the sudden change in weight.”
She advised pregnant women to report immediately to the hospital as soon as they detect new changes during their conception period.
The Gynaecologist disclosed further that about 20 to 30 women deliver daily at the TGH, adding that this was a big issue to be looked at, since the hospital lacked doctors and nurses to attend to all these women.
She continued that one out of five of these women has to go through a caesarean operation, which takes about two hours per person, leaving the doctor no room to attend to other emergency situations at the hospital.
She called on the public to get actively involved in blood donation exercises, in order to stock enough blood at the blood-bank to help women who need blood during child-birth.
She further reiterated that all expectant women must plan ahead of time, by making sure that they make provision for all the things they may need in the course of their delivery, including transportation to hospital and availability of blood among others.
On her part, a Senior Nurse from the TGH, Mrs. Sylvia Acheapong, explained that the primary causes of maternal mortality in the country could be blamed on some of our traditional practices.
She stated that some of these causes include traditions and belief systems of the people, stressing that some women do not see the need for healthcare during conception period, since their ancestors never did that, but were able to have safe deliveries.
She also said that low socio-economic status of women, resulting from the high dependency on husbands, often leads to some of them with no money to access good healthcare.
Mrs. Acheampong hinted that there were no or insufficient health care facilities in the rural areas, hence leaving the women in those areas with no choice than to succumb to home deliveries, which poses a lot of danger to both mother and child.
She continued that the only way to help combat maternal mortality in Tema in particular, and the country at large, is to have the total involvement of the community in the fight against maternal mortality.
There should also be the availability of adequate midwifery skills, increase in the use of family planning services, and a community transport and referral system should be put in place, she added.