Health News Mon, 9 Jan 2006

Health official unhappy about rate of stillbirths in the country

Elmina, Jan 09, GNA - Dr Henrietta Odoi-Agyarko, the Deputy Director of the Public Health Division of the Ghana Health Service, on Monday expressed concern that the rate of stillbirths recorded by health institutions in the country was too high.

She gave an instance where one district hospital recorded 50 per cent still births and said even though 92.3 per cent of pregnant women nationwide sought antenatal care at least once before delivery, "poor caregiver of danger signs" contributed to avoidable deaths. Dr Odoi-Agyarko was speaking on topic "status of maternal and child health in Ghana" at the opening of a four-day regional planning workshop on "partnership for high-impact-delivery approach for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5", in the Central Region. The workshop has brought together district directors of health, services, district planning officers and coordinating directors, non-governmental organisations and public health nurses. They are to find means of achieving the MDG 4 and 5, seek to reduce maternal and infant mortality and HIV/AIDS and help improve the quality of life for Ghanaians.

Dr Odoi-Agyarko also expressed concern about the low post natal coverage of 53 per cent, describing it as "inadequate" and said post natal health care "had been neglected for far too long", and appealed to the health institutions to pay more attention to it to curb maternal and child mortality.

"Care after delivery is very important to both mother and child and it should be available in all health institutions because if neglected it would be to the detriment of both mother and baby." Dr Odoi-Agyarko commended health personnel in the region for working hard to reduce maternal and child mortality rates in the region. Dr Aaron Ofei, the Regional Director of Health Services, said maternal and infant mortality had reduced in the region due to effective strategies to check the situation.

He said a regional task force had been put in place to act on maternal mortality reports and help avert such occurrences. Nana Ato Arthur, the Deputy Central Regional Minister, said there was a significant improvement in attaining the objectives of the MDGs and expressed the hope by 2015 the living conditions of Ghanaians would have improved. 09 Jan 06

Source: GNA