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Health News of Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

No maternal deaths in Tumu District in 2015

The Tumu District Hospital in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region recorded no maternal deaths in 2015.

The significant leap is the peak of a consistent improvement in maternal mortality records at the hospital since 2012.

From a recorded five deaths in 2012, the hospital accounted for two deaths in 2013 and one in 2014 as staff worked to eliminate what has become a phenomenon across the country.

According to Mr Alex Bapula, the Director of Health Service for Sissala East District, amid the deprivation in the Upper West Region, interventions such as engagement with community stakeholders, the commitment and support of the district assembly and its political hierarchy, improvement in both quality and numbers of the human resource base at the health facility and continuous education of the public on maternal health and related subjects, among others, had eventually proven worthy pursuits.

Community participation

The extremely elated district health services director said the various communities in the district had played important roles in achieving the feat through their active participation, particularly in matters of maternal health.
He mentioned, for instance, that community members contributed to a fund that facilitated transport services for pregnant women to enable them to access health facilities and health services, including antenatal clinics.

He also said arrangements with local transport unions - particularly the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) - to offer transport services for women in labour from usually remote areas, community awareness and alertness to call for professional health assistance when women go into labour at home, and the spread of Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds in Sissala East also contributed to the success story.

Indeed, from the modest level of having six CHPS compounds in the district in 2013, Sissala East could boast 26 CHPS compounds at the close of 2015.
"You can imagine the overall impact of CHPS compounds on health delivery if every community is fortunate to have one," Mr Bapula said.

Family planning services

He said improvement in access to family planning services also helped to educate women on issues of pregnancy and related subjects, which resulted in improved general management of pregnancies in the district.

The Deputy Regional Health Director, Mr Owusu Ansah, said it was a significant feat considering the national situation and the resource constraints that the Upper West and some of its districts faced.

The regional average for Upper West for 2015 was 159 deaths per every 100,000 live births, according to figures at the regional health directorate.

That figure was above the threshold of 139 deaths per every 100,000 live births as set by the erstwhile Millennium Development Goals, but certainly, Sissala East District did not contribute to raising the regional average