Obuasi (Ash), May 21, GNA - Forty-seven pregnant women died during the first quarter of this year in the Ashanti region through labour implications, Mrs Augustina Apea, Ashanti Regional Deputy Director of Nursing Services (Public Health) has said.
The major contributory factors included excessive bleeding, difficult labour, pregnancy-induced hypertension, infection and unsafe abortion with anaemia as an indirect cause.
Mrs Apea said these deaths rendered families and communities to suffer with their surviving children exposed to high risks of poverty, neglect and eventual death.
She was speaking at the regional launch of this year's nurses' week celebration at Obuasi on Thursday.
The celebration is under the theme: "Nurses, Working With The Poor Against Poverty".
She said the high maternal deaths could be reduced or prevented if "our pregnant women are supported financially by their families and are given good care and good food".
Mrs Apea therefore urged nurses to focus on the fight against poverty, especially among women and the aged who are in the vulnerable group.
She impressed upon the nurses to seek the general welfare of the individual and the society and also educate the public on health issues. Mrs Apea appealed to all stakeholders to support the activities of nurses so as to help to improve health delivery in the country.
Mrs Rose Owusu-Yeboah, Deputy Director of Nursing Services and national executive member of the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), said poverty was the most common and serious violation of human rights with a more devastating effect on health.
She explained that poor nutrition and physical health problems resulted directly from having too little income or too few resources. Mrs Owusu-Yeboah added that inadequate sanitation and unhygienic practices among the poor led to so many illnesses, stressing that "studies have shown that rates of mental illness are highest among the poor".
She drew the nurses' attention to the challenges ahead in working to reduce poverty in the society.
"Nurses must know that good health is a pre-condition for sustainable economic and social development and that when people are unable to meet their basic needs due to poverty, they become susceptible to diseases and suffer high mortality rates", Mrs Owusu-Yeboah said. 21 May 04