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Health News Tue, 22 May 2012

Maternal health depends on quality at primary levels

Dr Lawrence Kumi, the Medical Superintendent of the Peki Government Hospital, on Monday said the quality of maternal care services at lower levels of health delivery was crucial to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Five on maternal health by 2015.

“The problem cannot be solved from the middle,” he said this when the Ghana News Agency called at the hospital to verify an allegation that some nurses at the hospital last Friday refused treatment to a pregnant woman who was referred from a health facility at Boso in the Eastern Region to the hospital.

Ms Christiana Asantewah 39, who was said to have complained of pain in her side, was carrying a 28-month old pregnancy.

She could not survive.

Dr Kumi said the referral notes accompanying the late Ms Asantewah indicated that her blood pressure was 250/160 and was suffering from eclampsia and was given Nifedipine at Boso.

He said given the critical situation the late Asantewah was in, the nurses on duty asked that she be rushed to the Regional Hospital for specialist attention from an Obstetrician.

Dr Kumi said the Peki Hospital always referred such critical cases to the Regional Hospital.

He said in such cases, the hospital had to call for ambulance service from either the Anfoega or Kpando hospitals, or from the Eastern Region because the Hospital does not have an ambulance.

Dr Kumi explained that in Asantewah’s case, much time would have been wasted waiting for an ambulance to be called in from elsewhere.

He said the Peki Government Hospital has for eight years now handled 3,000 maternal related cases without any death, and that if it was the standard for achieving the MDG (5), then Ghana would have already attained that goal of zero maternal deaths.

“We are virtual slaves to maternal health delivery,” Dr Kumi said.

Dr Kumi said the health personnel at the lower levels of maternal health delivery should be encouraged to refer very critical maternal conditions straightaway to the Regional Hospital without following referral protocols, as time was essential in such situations.

He said no nurse or doctor at the Peki Government Hospital would want to put the life of any pregnant woman in jeopardy.**

Source: GNA