By: Ernest Best Anane
The sod was cut on Saturday for construction work to begin on a GH¢240,000 Maternity Block for the Ejisu Government Hospital, which is being funded by MTN Foundation Ghana.
It is expected to be completed in November 2012 to help relieve the pressure on existing facilities at the hospital, which was upgraded to hospital status in June 2010, as a result of the increasing population.
The project, on completion, is anticipated to serve the growing health needs of about 75,000 people in the municipality.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN, Mr. Michael Ikpoki, said the Foundation would also support equipping the maternal block, the labour ward, lying in ward, rest room for doctors and nurses, and an area for the antenatal clinic.
According to him, maternal health, which impacts families and societies and has far reaching effects across every socio-economic stratum, was a critical topic in global development.
The CEO indicated that out of the thousands of women who die during pregnancy or child birth each year, 90% are from Africa and Asia.
Referring to the 2008 World Bank statistics, which revealed a lifetime risk of maternal death as high as 66% in Ghana, and a maternal ratio of 350 per every 100,000 live births, Mr. Ikpoki stressed the need for maternal deaths among women to be considered a major crisis, and called for more concerted efforts and lifesaving actions to be taken to reduce its incidence.
He suggested the institution of advocacy campaigns, behavioural change, and the provision of modern and adequate infrastructure to ensure that no women die while giving birth.
The MTN head noted that interventions in health and education by MTN in this regard, would help address development challenges and reduce the maternal mortality rate, while addressing other Millennium Development Goals.
He called on all relevant stakeholders to collectively join MTN to develop a broad partnership that could make a genuine difference in the survival of pregnant women and the babies they carry.
He announced that MTN was committed to supporting the government in bringing quality health care to Ghanaians.
Nana Afranie Okesse IV, the Omanhene of the Ejisu Traditional area, expressed his gratitude to MTN Foundation for its tremendous efforts at improving the lot of Ghanaians with various interventions.
Mrs. Agartha Lomotey, Municipal Health Director, also lauded the MTN Ghana Foundation for the passion to help reduce maternal mortality to 75%, as targeted by the Millennium Challenge Goal by 2015, and appealed to other corporate bodies to emulate MTN Ghana, so that together, we can build a healthy nation.
Dr. Joseph Oduro, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Health Director in charge of Public Health, disclosed that last year alone, the region recorded 253 maternal deaths, and hoped the facility would help to reduce the rate by 2015, as targeted, and charged the staff of the hospital to exhibit more commitment to their duties.