General News Tue, 8 Jul 2008

MOH to double coverage of supervised deliveries

Accra, July 8, GNA - The Ministry of Health is working at doubling the coverage of supervised deliveries from the current 35 per cent to 70 per cent by 2010, as part of efforts to stem high maternal mortality in the country. This was also necessary to enable Ghana to meet Goal five of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing maternal mortality by three quarters by 2015, Major Courage Quashigah (Rtd), Minister of Health announced on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the opening of a two-day National Consultative Meeting on the Reduction of Maternal Mortality organized by the Ministry in fulfilment of a recommendation made at the recently held Health Summit.

Maternal mortality was declared as a national emergency in April to address the maternal mortality ratio in the country, estimated at 214 per 100,000 live births with a lifetime risk of one in 35. Major Quashigah said experts had proved that increasing the proportion of women delivered by midwives was crucial to reverse the trend and therefore the current supervised delivery coverage of 35 per cent was appalling and could not be said to be doing well for mothers and children.

"For me, ensuring that women deliver in safe environment under a competent health professional is a human rights issue. It is also a developmental issue since that is the only way we can ensure that we have healthy and productive Ghanaian population."

The Minister said the meeting would therefore provide the platform to present local and international evidence, share best practices and identify practical and essential strategies for achieving the target. Major Quashigah indicated that the Ministry had also committed itself to advocating strong and continuing national commitment, mobilising additional resources and identifying areas for technical support to strengthen implementation actions.


He said it was also working at defining the milestone for the implementers and monitoring progress being made in the reduction of maternal mortality.

The Minister said President John Agyekum Kufuor's policy of free maternal care under the National Health Insurance Scheme was a major boost to reduce the mortality.

The Ministry, Major Quashigah said, had put in place a monitoring system to enable it to identify bottlenecks in the policy implementation and put in the necessary corrective actions.

"I am convinced that this policy will reduce the financial barriers that women face in accessing services," he added. The Minister further called for intensive public education to enlighten women on the management on pregnancy and anatomy, saying this could go a long way to stem some avoidable cases. He charged the participants to come out with ideas that would help in collectively addressing the problem. 8 July 08

Source: GNA