Accra, Jan. 20, GNA - A two-day conference on the state of Maternal and Child Mortality in the country on Friday opened in Accra with a call on heads of health institutions to insist on proper record on patients to help in policy planning and implementation.
Dr Gloria Quansah Asare, Director, Family Planning and Reproductive Health Unit of the Ghana Health Services (GHS), said the unavailability of proper documentation on maternal mortality and morbidity as well as child mortality in the country had made policy planning and implementation very difficult.
She said the state of health of women and children was the priority of the GHS, as they formed a greater proportion of the population. There is, therefore, the need to intensify reproductive and child health programmes to help to reduce the current high rate of maternal and child mortality in the country.
Dr Quansah Asare, who stood in for Prof. Agyeman-Badu Akosa, Director-General of GHS, said though there were no official data on the current rate of maternal mortality and morbidity as well as child mortality, figures from various researches and surveys had indicated high rate deaths among such groups.
She said the GHS had initiated programmes such as the Safe Motherhood Initiative, which provided various interventions to ensure pre and post-natal care, safe delivery, family planning, prevention and management of unsafe abortion and infections.
Also present to support the GHS sponsored programme, were a group of medical experts from the USA and Canada and members of the Society of Obstetric Anaesthesiologists and Perinatologists (SOAP), who would be working with other Ghanaian health practitioners at the Tema General Hospital, Ridge Hospital and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Other participants were from selected health institutions in all the 10 regions.
Dr Quansah Asare said while it was true that many of the deaths that occurred in women and children could be due to socio-economic and other community-based problems, a significant number of the deaths still occurred in hospitals all over the country. "We still believe a lot can be done to prevent many of these deaths and morbidity," she said.
She called on trained Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) as well as community-based clinics to avoid delays in referring patients for emergency care during obstructed labour and further urged hospital heads to reactivate clinical management protocols for pre-mature babies to help secure their lives.
Participants raised concern on the practicality of healthcare provision at the grassroots, as stated in the Maternal and Child Health Care Policy Document, and that facility heads ought to be flexible in releasing funds for the procurement of the necessary needs of the hospital.
Dr Quansah Asare said the GHS had envisaged a reduction in maternal mortality that stood at approximately 214 per 100,000 live births to 150 per 100,000 live births by the end of year 2006, with the various health care interventions put in place to educate mothers.
According to Dr Margaret Armar-Klemesu, Country Director, Initiative for Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment (IMMPACT), Ghana, a research project, found that record keeping was very poor in all the selected health institutions.
She said in most cases there were no records at all on patients, who had lost their babies indicating that those patients did not exist at all.