Maternal mortality has always been one of the most significant global health issues in developing countries, predominantly those in the sub-Sharan Africa countries compared with developed countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant, or within 42 days of the termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to, or aggravated by pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes”. From the World Health Organization definition of maternal mortality, it is clear that any death of a pregnant woman which occurs within 42 days of the termination of pregnancy or whiles pregnant can be classified as a maternal mortality. This definition brings to light an important issue of great concern “maternal health”.
Maternal health is the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. It encompasses the health care dimensions of family planning, preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care in order to ensure a positive and fulfilling experience in most cases and reduce maternal morbidity and mortality in other cases. Taking Ghana for instance, maternal mortality among many other misfortunes has claimed the lives of many mothers. It would be recalled that, a universal free delivery policy was implemented in 2003 to improve access to delivery care in health facilities, aimed at improving access to skilled attendance and reducing maternal mortality. This has since not yielded the desired results.
According to estimates made for the year 2005, half a million women, most of them in developing countries die each year of complications during pregnancy or childbirth. The Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group of the World Health Organization estimated that Ghana’s maternal mortality rate has gone up from 350 per 100,000 live births to 380.
The report also indicated that in 2013, an estimated 3,100 women died from pregnancy-related causes and that figures from the District Health Management Information System revealed that 1,012 pregnant women died in 2013 from pregnancy-related issues across the country. Fast forward to the era of Millennium Development Goals (MDG), where goal five (MDG5) aim was at improving maternal health before the end of 2015, yet in a lot of rural communities and even urban societies, the lives of mothers were still being lost although the Millennium Development Goal 5 had made much more greater positive impact on the issues of maternal health.
Africa hoards many physical, economic, social, and psychological handicaps, especially in its rural areas: dispersed settlements, poor health infrastructure, and shortage of qualified health-care personnel, transportation, and health awareness, and low levels of income and education. Understanding of all these conditions needs to improve to enable accurate directing of interventions aimed at reducing maternal mortality to low levels.
Written By :
Samuel Adutwum Tawiah
BSc. Physician Assistant Studies
University of Cape Coast
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."