Axim (W/R), Dec 1, GNA - Madam Sophia Horner-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister, on Wednesday said the national institutional ratio of 214 deaths in every 100,000 births is unacceptably high. She noted that this was in spite of the fact that maternal death trend in the country had been decreasing steadily over the past two decades.
This was contained in an address read on her behalf at the regional launch of Safe Motherhood 2005 under the theme "Death from pregnancy and live birth is preventable" at Axim in the Nzema East District. Madam Horner-Sam stated that mortality rate for the Western Region was 240 deaths in 100,000 births and said the Nzema East District had a record of 468 deaths in 100,000 births as at mid-year 2005. She noted that the actual rate could be higher because not all maternal deaths were reported at health facilities and stressed the need for improved community - based surveillance on events such as births, maternal deaths and infant deaths.
This could help give a clear picture of the health status of women and children who were vulnerable and to provide an indicator for purpose of development.
Madam Horner-Sam said Safe Motherhood comprising a set of interventions to reduce maternal death and illness as well as to improve infant health, was one of the priority areas of the medium term health strategies and the second five-year programme.
"The Safe Motherhood components include Health Education, care during pregnancy, care during labour and delivery, family planning prevention and management of unsafe abortions", she said.
Madam Horner-Sam said as a result of the importance the government attached to Safe Motherhood, pregnant women were exempted from paying for four antenatal visits in Health facilities in the country. She stated that the government would ensure the continuous provision of free delivery and other services despite resource constraint.
Madam Horner-Sam said one of the new approaches adopted in the area of Safe Motherhood was the provision of Emergency Obstetric Care (EOC) throughout the country.
The Deputy Regional Minister announced plans to provide Health Centres with capacity to offer basic obstetric and comprehensive obstetric care.
Madam Horner-Sam said other activities included the training of health professionals in life saving and other clinical skills to improve their competence in handling obstetric emergencies.
She said trained experienced traditional birth attendants (TBA) would not be left out of the training to improve the detection of complications for early referrals.
Radio campaigns on complications of pregnancy would be carried out to sensitise the people on the need for the reduction of maternal deaths.
Dr Linda Vanotto, Deputy Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said antenatal care was being provided in almost all government health facilities from where women could get guidance for safe pregnancy and delivery.
They were also examined for malaria, diabetes and blood pressure to avoid complications.
Dr Abraham Techie-Menson, Nzema East District Director of Health Services, said over the past five years, the District has had marginal decline in death associated with pregnancy and childbirth but stated that the drop was unsatisfactory.
He said the District Health Directorate had been taking maternal services to the doorsteps of communities in the deprived northern section of the District through the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS).
Dr Techie-Menson said the programme would be extended to other deprived communities in the district.
Mr Joshua Kwajah-Ellimah, Nzema East District Chief Executive, said the National Health Scheme would take off in the area on Thursday and urged the people to get actively involved.
He Mr Kwajah-Ellimah said the district assembly would co-operate with and support programmes to improve services for the people, adding that, the Assembly had provided ten million cedis for the purchase of treated bed nets to prevent malaria especially among pregnant, nursing mothers and children.
Mr Kwajah-Ellimah said the Assembly recently contributed 12 million cedis towards the purchase of equipment for the Axim Hospital.