Obuasi, April 11, GNA - Maternal mortality reduced from 19 deaths representing 3.4 per cent in the Obuasi municipality in 2000 to six deaths representing 1.5 per cent in 2005.
Dr Samuel Osei-Somuah, Obuasi Municipal Director of Health Services, who announced this, attributed the drastic reduction to the strong links he had with the national and regional prevention of maternal mortality teams.
Presenting the annual health report at the meeting of the Municipal Health Directorate at Obuasi, he also mentioned refresher-training workshops organized for midwives and clinicians to address the three main delays that contribute to maternal deaths as another factor. Dr Osei-Somuah mentioned delays by pregnant women in decision-making at the community level, access to facility where competent maternal services were available and institutional delays. He announced that the Municipal Assembly was establishing maternal clinics at Kuka-Junction and Brahabebome as part of efforts to improve upon access to maternal health care and also reduce the maternal mortality rate in the municipality.
"Our referral systems have also improved since at the community level, the people have been sensitised on danger signs of pregnancy and so they can detect risk and refer appropriately".
The Municipal Director of Health Services said meetings were held periodically to review maternal mortality issues, stressing: "Every maternal death is investigated by a team to know the real causes so that they can improve upon maternal health".
Dr Osei-Somuah said the link between the Obuasi Government Hospital and the Anglogold Ashanti Hospital had really contributed to the reduction in maternal deaths, as the two hospitals operated an exchange programme to address maternal emergencies.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency later, Dr Osei-Somuah said the Municipal Health Directorate wanted to achieve one per cent per 10,000 births this year but added, "this target is even not acceptable". He said generally maternal health in the country was a problem and that accounted for why his directorate was doing everything possible to improve the situation.
"Obuasi was the first district in Ashanti to introduce the information on the six danger signs of pregnancy on a laminated sheet for distribution to community volunteers to help them determine the information about the danger associated with maternal mortality", he added. 11 April 06