Health News of Sunday, 9 June 2013

Source: GNA

UWR records 28 maternal deaths in five months

The Upper West Region has recorded 28 maternal deaths from January to May this year, a figure it registered during the whole of 2012.

The health authorities are entertaining fears that the region could experience a similar situation that occurred in 2009 where it recorded 43 maternal deaths if decisive measures are not taken to stem the trend.

The Wa Regional Hospital registered 13 maternal deaths, Nandom Hospital, four deaths, Lawra Hospital, three deaths, Jirapa Hospital, three deaths, Tumu Hospital, one death, Sissala West and Lambussie Districts one death each while the Daffiama-Bussie-Issa District also registered two deaths.

The trend has also put fears in many pregnant women whose lives are at stake because of the inadequate health facilities and the number of health personnel to help provide quality healthcare in the facilities provided.

Many of the communities in the region are also difficult to reach due to the deplorable nature of the roads thereby causing delay in transporting pregnant women in labour to health facilities on time to receive medical attention.

Dr Kofi Issah, Deputy Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, made this known at a stakeholders meeting on the “Millennial Development Goal Five Acceleration Framework” in Wa on Tuesday. The Millennial Development Goal Five seeks to improve maternal health and reduce maternal deaths by three-quarters by 2015 and improve skilled attendants to 95 per cent by 2015.

Dr Issah said the delay in recognizing danger signs, bleeding and prolonged labour among other things, were factors influencing maternal deaths in the region.

Dr Issah identified poor roads, cost of transportation, inadequate vehicles and vehicles refusing to carry pregnant women with complication for fear of soiling their vehicles or the women dying in their vehicles as some of the challenges affecting maternal healthcare delivery in the region.

Dr Issah called for the education of women and their spouses on the danger signs and when and where to seek care for complications, and training of other service providers in counselling skills.

He suggested the development of referral systems that links health facilities to community to enhance regular interactions and community participation in the running of the facility.

There is also the need to assist communities, families and women to develop complication readiness plan, establish good links with traditional authorities, and help communities and individuals to develop financial schemes for emergencies.

Dr Issah called for the improvement in road infrastructure of the region, encourage relevant organisations such as the Ghana Private Road Transport Union to assist pregnant women during emergencies and the effective use of radio communication system to improve the situation.