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Health News of Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

'Sustain public education on maternal deaths'

A specialist Obstetrician-Gynaecologist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital(KATH) , Dr E.K.P. Kwarko, has called for regular and sustained public education on issues related to maternal mortality.

He urged medical officers to initiate the process to help reduce the incidence of maternal deaths.

In an interview with Daily Graphic, Dr Kwarko said it was equally important for the media to use their platforms for discussions and dialogue on maternal mortality issues .

According to him, public education on maternal mortality issues in Ghana would empower the people to join hands to create awareness of how to reduce maternal mortality.

Currently, Ghana is ranked 31st in the world in terms of maternal mortality ratings, while Chad tops the global ranking as the 1st worst with 1,100 per 100,000 live births, with Estonia taking the bottom spot with the best maternal mortality ratio of two deaths per 100,000 live births, according to Dr Kwarko.

Explaining, Dr Kwarko said as at the end of July, 2012, Ghana’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) stood at 350 per 100,000 live births, stressing that the ratio has been tottering around this figure since 2010.

“Maternal mortality is an issue for the whole country, and will require a co-ordinated and concerted effort on the political, socio-cultural and medical fronts to deal with it thoroughly,” he said.

Explaining what constituted maternal mortality, Dr Kwarko said the World Health Organisation (WHO) defined it as the “death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of the pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes”

He said it is measured using a standardised MMR of the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births over a period of one year.

He said since the WHO definition of maternal mortality was technical, there was the need for people with the requisite competence and know-how to educate the public on the issues undermining the quest for Ghana to achieve the Millennium Development Goal five, which relates to improving maternal health.

“At the current rate, Ghana is likely to miss its MDG5 goal of an estimated 150 per 100,000 MMR by the year 2015,” he said.