Central Region drivers curb maternal deaths
December 24, 2010 Cape Coast, Dec. 24, GNA - The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has given awards to 34 drivers from transport unions in all the 17 districts who transported women in labour to health facilities during the year.
Each driver was given a radio set and the regional GPRTU, which has the largest number of participating drivers in the scheme, received a refrigerator each.
GHS, together with its developing partners, instituted the annual award scheme to honour drivers who transported expectant mothers to health facilities.
The Central Regional Health Administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Transport Unions in 2005 under which drivers are to transport women in labour to health centres.
This is part of its move to reduce the high maternal mortality in the region.
Research in the region has shown that most pregnant women who lost their lives during childbirth were not transported early to health facilities due to the bad nature of roads and inadequate number of vehicles in communities.
Since the MOU was signed to date, 2,334 pregnant women in need of emergency obstetric care have been timely transported by drivers of the various unions to health facilities, thereby helping in reducing the maternal mortality rate of the Region.
The Central Regional Acting Director of the GHS, Dr. John Eleeza, said one of the key factors causing high maternal mortality in the Region was the delay in transporting expectant mothers to a health facility.
He said this called for the concerted efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that the problem was solved in the shortest possible time and expressed gratitude to the transport unions for their help and support which had culminated in the reduction of maternal mortality in the Region.
Dr. Eleeza said the services being rendered by the drivers were very relevant to the GHS because only a few rural areas had access to ambulance service.
He called on health workers to also play their part well in this collective collaboration by acting professionally and putting up positive attitudes towards patients to help save their lives and avoid preventable deaths.
Dr. Eleeza said sustainability of the programme was his outfit's main challenge and called on all and sundry to come together to explore ways of sustaining it to safeguard the lives of pregnant women and their babies.
The Central Regional Minister, Mrs. Ama Benyiwa Doe, said in a speech read on her behalf that but for the intervention of the drivers, most of the women might have lost their lives and expressed gratitude to the drivers.
She said three factors which are prevalent in the Region and contributed to the loss of lives of pregnant women were the delay in deciding to seek medical care, delay in reaching a health facility and delay in receiving treatment at the health facility.
Mrs Benyiwa Doe expressed worry that the national maternal mortality rate was estimated at about 451 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
Mrs. Esther Dua Oyinka, a Coordinator of the United Nations Fund for Population Activity (UNFPA), sponsors of the programme, advised the drivers to report and also to take claim forms from nurses any time they convey a pregnant woman to a health facility in order for them to keep track of the number of women they transport within the year.
Alhaji Alex Mustapha from the GPRTU expressed gratitude on behalf of the Transport Unions and pledged their support to the GHS in order to help reduce further, maternal mortality and expressed the hope that no maternal deaths would be recorded in ensuing years.
Mrs. Hannah Taylor, a State Attorney who presided, expressed gratitude to the Transport Unions for the good initiative and urged them to keep up the good work and do it wholeheartedly.
She told drivers who participated but were not awarded to take consolation in the fact that they had helped to save precious lives.