President J.A. Kufuor has appealed to health professionals who have been trained at the expense of the tax payer to stay at home and help develop the country.
He said the need for trained Ghanaians to stay at home to work is very paramount because “nobody will come from elsewhere to develop the country for us.”
The President, who made the appeal when he launched the Safe Motherhood Week at Winneba in the Central Region yesterday said the problem of the exodus of the nation’s trained health professionals to seek greener pastures abroad has not abated and is exerting pressure on the rest of the health delivery system. The theme for the week celebration is “Death during Pregnancy and Childbirth is Preventable, Act Now”.
The week is intended to heighten the awareness of women about the dangers of childbirth and the need to prevent them. The five main causes of death during pregnancy and childbirth in the country are profuse bleeding, induced hypertension, complications of unsafe abortion, severe infection involving the womb and obstructed labour resulting in the bursting of the womb.
President Kufuor said the safe motherhood programme recognises that for pregnancy to be safe there must be teamwork among the interested groups such as the woman, husband , family, the community, health facility and the policy maker. He said the government’s responsibility in the teamwork is to provide the necessary infrastructure and professional personnel.
President Kufuor said the government is actively taking steps to improve the conditions of the roads, telecommunications, the hospitals and clinics.
He expressed regret that with all these efforts, it is sad that the problem of the exodus of the nation’s trained health professionals is still on the ascendancy.
He said as the government strives to improve on the economy in general to make the country a more attractive place for all, the people have the responsibility to stay and help with the country’s development. President Kufuor urged district assemblies, communities and health delivery groups to assume full responsibility in making childbirth safer.
He said ensuring good health requires concerted efforts on the part of all sectors of the society and individuals. President Kufuor said husbands have a crucial role to play in the health of pregnant women by providing emotional, physical and financial support. “It is disgraceful that so many women are left to cope with pregnancy and childbirth without any support from their partners and have to bear sole responsibility for their children.”
He appealed to men to take a keen interest in the birth and upbringing of their children and accept that “a child is as much a product of the father as it is of the mother.” He expressed concern about the large number of teenage pregnancies in the country.
Mr Isaac Edumadze, the Central Regional Minister, said the region is the second most densely populated in the country. He said the region is recording one of the highest maternal mortality rates of between 450 and 600 per 100,000 live births.
These indices, he said, are counterproductive to the region’s developmental efforts and should be of great concern to all Ghanaians. He said although many pregnant women receive ante-natal care, a lot of them do not deliver under the supervision of trained health workers.
Mr Edumadze urged district assemblies, chiefs and opinion leaders to mount a sustained awareness campaign to persuade women to use the health facilities which have been provided for their own welfare.
Professor Fred Sai, Adviser to the President on Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS said safe motherhood initiative was launched in Kenya in 1987 but years afterwards the situation of maternal mortality has not improved. He underscored the need for multi-sectoral approach to reversing the trend.
Nenyi Ghartey VII the Paramount Chief of Effutu Traditional Area, said the gloomy health problems in the country can be further tackled through education. He expressed appreciation to the President for the special initiative on cassava starch at Bawjiase and said the people are waiting for the implementation of the salt production initiative for the coastal communities.