Busua (W/R), Feb 07, GNA - Dr Sylvester Anemana, the Western Regional Director of Health Services, said the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) indicators of the country had stagnated since 1998. He said while Infant Mortality Rate stood at 68 deaths per every 1,000 lives births in 1998, it now stood at 66 deaths per every 1,000 lives births as at December 2003.
Dr Anemana said this at the opening of a five-day workshop and review meeting of the RCH at Busua on Monday.
He said children less than five years mortality rate had still remained 109 deaths per every 1,000 births since 1998 and 2003 and to reverse the trend, there was the need to adopt the Community Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) and the Community Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (CIMCI).
Dr Anemana said the CHPS would encourage more community health nurses and trained personnel to live with and assist communities to treat minor ailments such as fevers, malaria and refer serious cases to the hospital.
He said under the CIMCI, community volunteers would be recruited and trained to serve as agents of change in their respective communities and would carry out the distribution of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), provide home based care for diarrhoea and fevers and refer serious ailments to the nearest hospitals.
Mr Joseph B. Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, said the lack of awareness of life threatening complications of pregnancy and childbirth, lack of transport, communication systems for referrals and emergencies, inadequate trained midwives and nurses and the frequent shortfall of health consumables are some of the challenges that prevent women from seeking early help.
He urged them to develop new strategies that would assist in reducing maternal mortality in the country adding "the late attendance of ante-natal clinics could have negative effects on the life of the mother and the unborn child.''
Mr. Aidoo said the 2004 Western Regional Annual Health Report revealed that 16.3 per cent of women attending antenatal clinics are teenagers.
"This is an important risk factor as most teenage pregnancies are more likely to develop certain life threatening complications or develop certain disabilities,'' he said.
Dr. Henrietta Odi-Agyarko, Deputy Director of Public and Family Health said Child Health Promotion Week would be celebrated between May 9 and 15 this year.
She said the celebrations are meant to increase access to the child health interventions and would create awareness about the need for children under five years to utilise services such as immunization, vitamin A supplementation, use of ITN and growth promotion.