Regional News of Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Source: GNA

Students sensitized on maternal mortality in N/R

A health professional has said that maternal mortality in Northern Region would linger on since most health officials, especially doctors, continued to decline postings to the area.

Dr. Jacob Mahama, Deputy Northern Regional Director of Health said, “Last year, 13 practicing doctors who were posted to the region refused to show up, a situation that has contributed largely to maternal deaths in this region”, he said.

He was addressing students of the Business College International, on Wednesday.

The sensitization forum, which was on the theme: “Ensuring free and quality maternal health for all, the role of the CSO”, was organized by the Northern Regional chapter of the Coalition of NGOs in Health.

Dr Mahama said the region recorded 112:111:97 and 131 maternal deaths in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively, and regretted that the region had a few specialist doctors to attend to complicated cases of pregnant women.

He said that in 2011 alone, about 2,700 cesarean operations were conducted on pregnant women, most of whom were teenagers; a condition he said demanded attention by specialists.

Dr. Mahama said it was the right of every pregnant woman in Ghana to enjoy free maternal healthcare services, but in the rural areas, there were no specialists to take care of them leaving them in the care of the traditional birth attendants.

He asked pregnant women to attend hospital or nearby health post to be delivered of their babies, since traditional birth attendances could not manage complicated cases of delivery, most of which accounted for the increasing rate of maternal mortalities.

Dr Mahama observed that poor road networks coupled with inaccessible health facilities, poor health facilities, inadequate staff and negative attitude of health workers towards clients were equally responsible for most of the mortalities.

He advised teenagers to refrain from pre-marital sex which could lead to teenage pregnancy and unwanted births.

Dr Mahama also warned them that they could get sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS, and asked non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to step up sensitization on the disease.

Mr. Alhassan Amadu, Northern Regional Population Officer, advised the youth not to haste in life but to take their studies seriously.

Mr. Edward Samari, Project Coordinator of Catholic Family Reproductive Health Project, an NGO based in Walewale, said that NGOs in the country were complementing the efforts of the Ghana Health Service in providing health care.

He said the NGO had trained traditional birth attendants, who in the absence of trained specialists render good services.

Mr. Samari said the traditional birth attendants could not be phased out in the country until such a time that every community had a health facility.**