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17.03.2005 Regional News

Train more midwives to reduce maternal deaths

By GNA

Accra, March 17, GNA - Emeritus Professor Samuel Ofosu-Amaah, President Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, on Wednesday night urged health authorities to offer young nurses the opportunity to learn midwifery to reduce the high incidence of maternal death. He said the practice where nurses had to reach a particular rank before becoming midwives must be altered since it had serious repercussions on maternal health care.

Professor Ofosu-Amaah said this when he delivered a lecture on the theme: "The Future of Health in Ghana" to round off the 38th series of lectures held in memory of Dr J. B. Danquah in Accra.

The lecture, which is organised by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, aims at rekindling the indomitable courage and relentless spirit of Dr Danquah against tyranny and oppression.

Prof. Ofosu-Amaah said current statistics indicated that about 600 women die from birth related complications. "There is urgent need for midwives in this country since the situation is appalling."

Prof. Ofosu-Amaah said midwifery should not be left in the hands of Traditional Birth Attendance (TBAs) only because they lacked the expertise to handle complications that arose during child delivery. "Although their services might be needed under certain circumstances, they are not obstetricians and cannot treat diseases and ailments that kill pregnant women."

He urged individuals to learn the rudiments of personal health care techniques that would help them to offer first aid adding, "let's discourage this attitude of people visiting hospitals with every minor health problem."

Prof. Ofosu-Amaah noted that the Local Government Act and Ghana Health Service and Teaching Hospitals Act were not coherent and called for proper collaboration for effective health care delivery. He added that there were a lot of contradictions in the two Acts that needed urgent attention.

Prof. Ofosu-Amaah noted that the current health care system had led to the situation in which the role of government and health worker was confused.

"As a result, Ghana has one of the most inequitable health care systems," he said, adding "the country is therefore continually in a precarious condition for slippage in our health development."

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