Offinso (Ash), Jan. 15, GNA - The Ashanti Region recorded 476 maternal deaths between 2002 and November 2004.
The Adansi West, Offinso and Asante-Akim North districts were among the districts, which recorded the highest maternal deaths. Dr Kyei Farried, Senior Medical Officer in-charge of Public Health in the Ashanti Region, disclosed this at the regional launch of the Safe Motherhood campaign at Offinso on Friday.
The campaign, which was attended by health personnel, mothers, couples and traditional rulers, was under the theme, "Averting Maternal Deaths in Ghana -Taking Action to Make Motherhood Safe".
He attributed some of the causes of maternal deaths to abortions, bleeding, anaemia, malaria, ruptured uterus and the refusal of pregnant mothers to attend ante-natal and post-natal clinics.
Dr Farried noted that to ensure safe motherhood through the avoidance of deaths from unwanted pregnancies, women and couples must get pregnant by "choice" and not by "chance", which should be done through appropriate counselling and the use of modern methods of family planning. He stressed the need for pregnant women to attend ante-natal clinics at least four times during pregnancy to ensure safe deliveries. The senior medical officer deplored the behaviour of some Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) who use their religious beliefs to keep pregnant women until the point of delivery before referring them to the hospital and said such situations could be very fatal and therefore asked them to strive to deliver with midwives and health professionals. Dr Farried urged men to support their wives financially to enable them attend regularly ante-natal and post-natal clinics. Dr Francis Osei, Offinso District Director of Health Services, in his report said the district recorded 20 maternal deaths between 2002 and 2004.
He said the District Health Management Team (DHMT) had over the years intensified its sensitisation programme on safe motherhood throughout the district as well as providing clinics to help reduce the problem.
Mr Joseph Y. Oduro, Offinso District Chief Executive, on his part attributed the causes of the problem to poor road network in the district, adding, the assembly has embarked on the rehabilitation of roads to enable pregnant women travel to the clinics for medical care.