Maternal, Infant Mortality Will Minimize
THE FIRST Lady, Ernestina Naadu Mills has expressed optimism that death rates among women and infants will minimize drastically in the coming years as a result of the successful completion of the Neo-natal Survival Programme (NSP).
She was sure that through the skills and knowledge that the programme has imparted to midwives and mothers, Ghana would chalk some success in Millennium Development Goals four and five.
She lamented that neonatal deaths contribute to about two-thirds of all infant mortality in the country and therefore efforts to arrest 'this unhealthy situation need commendation.'
Mrs. Mills noted that such deaths occur within 48 hours of birth and also account for 40% of deaths among infants under the age of five.
She said it was against this backdrop that the Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health in collaboration with the nation's development partners and other agencies developed the road map to reduce maternal and newborn mortality.
The First Lady also expressed her appreciation for the successful project that was implemented in Accra and Kumasi.
Nana Abenaa Akuamoa-Boateng, Regional Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) Coordinator, West and Central Africa urged midwives and mothers to look out for the top ten symptoms of illness among infants in order to help reduce infant mortality.
These include breathing problems, sucking difficulties, too much sleep, rigid limbs, convulsions, temperature fluctuations, jaundice, eye infection, umbilical cord infection and blisters on the skin.
These symptoms, she said can easily cause the death of newborn babies and therefore asked mothers to be very vigilant.
The Accra Mayor, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije on his part explained that the programme forms part of government's initiative to improve the lives of Ghanaian women and children.
The NSP was initiated on a pilot basis with the main objective of reducing neonatal mortality,
The road map focuses on improving health care at community and facility levels through the use of evidence-based, feasible and cost effective interventions in poor settings in order to achieve accelerated reduction in maternal and newborn deaths.
The community level intervention focuses on equipping households and communities with knowledge and skills that will enable them adopt practices and better health-seeking behavior as well as help them recognize dangerous signs and symptoms related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The training was designed by the American Academy of Pediatrics in a programme dubbed 'Helping Babies Breathe' and focused on ensuring safe delivery and survival of the newborn.
By Stella Danso Addai