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02.10.2013 Health

Maternal Mortality Still High

By Daily Guide
Maternal Mortality Still High
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ALTHOUGH GHANA's maternal mortality has declined by 44 percent since 1990, the current rate of 350 deaths per 100,000 live births is still very high.

A 2012 World Health Organisation report, 'Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990-2010,' which made this known, also said 29 newborns per 1,000 live births die every year in Ghana, an avoidable situation that decision makers cannot brush aside.

It is in an attempt to countenance the trend that Mamaye Ghana, a maternal and newborn health campaigner, has hosted communications and advocacy activists from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Tanzania as part of the International Mamaye Campaign, which aims to improve maternal and newborn survival in sub-Saharan Africa.

The activists from East and West Africa gathered in Accra to attend a workshop on Effective Communications and Advocacy in Maternal and Newborn Health. The agenda was to examine the impact of the campaign which is currently promoting maternal and newborn survival in the five African nations.

The three-day event gave partnerships the opportunity to share success stories of strategies and techniques that had brought maternal and newborn health issues to the attention of policy makers and the general public. This is crucial in Ghana because it has to meet the 2015 deadline for Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

Dr Ann Pettifor, Director of Advocacy International and main facilitator of the workshop said bringing all the teams together was valuable because it offered activists from all participating countries a common platform to share ideas and strengthen advocacy efforts across board.

'Ultimately, we want to save lives and we cannot save mothers and babies by just talking about it. We must use evidence to bring about a transformation in the life-chances of African women and their babies. We must use evidence to persuade the politician, journalist, opinion leader, health worker of the urgency of our mission. They must be given a reason to act and they must be held accountable for every woman or child's life lost unnecessarily,' she said.

Dr Pettifor added that it is the duty of all those working in the maternal and newborn health sector, as well as the media, to consistently emphasise the need to improve the quality care for mothers and their babies.

The crisis of low rates of maternal and newborn survival is no different in Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Tanzania where mortality rates are comparable or worse than Ghana's. In Nigeria, the rate is 630, while in Sierra Leone it is 890. Also, in Malawi and Tanzania respectively, 460 deaths per every 100,000 live births are recorded.

By Samuel Boadi

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