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Health News of Thursday, 21 February 2008

Source: GNA

Eastern Region confronted with high maternal mortality

New Abirem, Feb. 21, GNA - Even though a lot has been achieved in healthcare delivery in the Eastern Region with vaccination coverage above 90 per cent in all antigens and childhood diseases like polio and measles virtually non-existent, it is still confronted with some major challenges.

These are unacceptable high maternal mortality of three per 100 live births and the threat of HIV/AIDS. Dr George Bonsu, Eastern Regional Deputy Director of Public Health made the disclosure at New Abirem during the Birim North District 2008 programme of work and review of 2007 performance of health activities. The forum brought together health personnel from all the six sub-districts, representatives of the assembly, traditional rules, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), departmental heads and non-governmental organization.

Dr Bonsu emphasized that the death of even one mother during delivery was highly unacceptable and said the region has therefore declared "zero tolerance for maternal mortality" this year and urged all stakeholders to help realize the dream.

On HIV/AIDS, he said, a high sentinel survey in 2006 puts the region on the number one spot as the highest area with HIV prevalence pegging it at 4.9 per cent as against the national rate of 3.2 per cent. However, Dr Bonsu revealed that there has been remarkable progress in the provision of counselling and testing, prevention of mother to child transmission and anti-retroviral services.

He commended staff of the district for the great strides they have made in the community-based health and planning services concept, which ensure the provision of health care delivery to the doorsteps of the people.

The District Chief Executive, Nana Acquah Frimpong appealed to the government to speed up the upgrading of the New Abirem Health Centre to a hospital in view of the increase in the population of the area as a result of the discovery of gold there.

He said a bungalow for a medical officer has already been put in place. The District Director of Health Services, Mr Tei Djamgmah said Out-Patient Department (OPD) attendance at the New Abirem Health Centre increased from 8,000 in 2004 to 10,000 in 2005, 14,081 in 2006 shooting up to 17,081 2007 attributing it to the people's desire to access quality healthcare as a result of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Mr Djamgmah expressed worry about the steady rise in the detection of tuberculosis and HIV in the district and cautioned people to be extra careful about their lifestyles. He cautioned TBAs to promptly refer cases beyond them to health facilities to avoid complications likely to lead to fatalities. Mr Djamgmah said TBAs have been cautioned not to deliver primps, women with danger signs like oedema, those who have gone through caesarean sections before and those with more than previous four or more deliveries, among other conditions. He indicated that in an effort to curtail maternal deaths, the pregnancy register in all the communities would be effectively used to trace pregnant women to allow them access proper healthcare. Mr Djamgmah expressed appreciation to the Abiremhene, Nana Amo Kyeretwie I, Newmont (Ghana Gold) and some non-governmental organizations for their support to the District Health Directorate. Nana Amo Kyeretwie, who chaired the programme expressed worry about the increase in the incidence of teenage pregnancy and warned that parents who made attempt to allow matters concerning rape and defilements to be settled at home would be severally dealt with when brought to his notice. He called for maximum co-operation among all stakeholders to help promote quality healthcare delivery in the district.

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