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Health News of Monday, 14 October 2013

Source: GNA

KATH to bring down maternal mortality

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) is pursuing strategies to reduce the high spate of maternal and child deaths.

The strategies include training of medical and health professionals in key hospitals within its catchment area to efficiently manage maternal and neonatal cases and assigning consultants and senior specialists to these facilities for regular consultation on emergency case management.

The Chief Executive of KATH, Professor Ohene Adjei, said they had additionally set up a communication system with the support of Airtel Ghana, under which the beneficiary facilities were being supplied with cellular phones from which they could make free calls to consultants to discuss management options of such cases when necessary.

From 2008 and the first half of 2013, KATH has been recording between 700 and 1000 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Prof Ohene Adjei announced the measures at a day’s conference on maternal and neonatal health care in Kumasi.

It was organised under the Ministry of Health’s Maternal Accelerated Framework, to provide a consultative platform to fine-tune strategies being proposed by the hospital to address neonatal and pregnancy-related complications referred to the hospital.

Participants from about 20 selected hospitals in Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Central and the Western regions that directly fall within the catchment area of KATH, attended the event.

Prof Ohene Adjei spoke of plans to re-train critical staff of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) and Child Health directorates to better handle complicated cases, referral and admitted patients.

Intensive care facilities at the hospital are also being expanded to better deal with emergencies.

Again, a public education team had been formed to sensitise the public to how to prevent maternal and neonatal complications and deaths.

Prof Ohene Adjei said these interventions were being implemented based on the observation that most of the cases referred to KATH came at an advanced stage when conditions of patients had worsen beyond recovery.

He spoke of the need for effective collaboration and continuous engagement to address challenges and prevent avoidable deaths, saying their goal was to assist achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on health.

Dr Kwabena Opoku Adusei, President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), lauded KATH’s decision to send consultants to the peripheral hospitals to support health care delivery and said this would not only help to improve care but reduce pressure on the referral facility.

He called on the government to act with some urgency to complete the maternity block at KATH, work on which started about 34 years ago, to reduce congestion.

Dr Akua Gyekua Plange Rhule, Head of the Department of Child Health at KATH, expressed worry that many newborn babies continued to die due to the lack of basic techniques and skills at some health facilities.

She said her department was determined to work to improve the skills and knowledge of health professionals at the lower levels to achieve optimal performance.

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