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Regional News Thu, 27 Feb 2003

Maternal Mortality high in Upper East

For the past three years, the Upper East Region has consistently recorded the highest number of cases of infant and maternal mortality in the country.

The Regional Director of Health Services (RHS), Dr Joseph Amankwa, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga on Tuesday that the phenomenon would continue until the regional directorate is adequately resourced to pursue pragmatic healthcare delivery.

He said whereas the national demography for maternal mortality stands at 214 per 100,000 live births, studies indicate that, in the Upper East, it is between 600 and 800 deaths per 100,000 live births, a situation he described as alarming and needed serious attention.

Invariably, there are incidences of infant mortality of 155 deaths per 100,000 live births in the region as compared to the national demography of 108 infant deaths per 100,000 live births.

He said such deaths are preventable, however, the combination of factors beyond the control of the service account for consistent high maternal and infant mortality rates in the region.

Dr Amankwa said supervisory delivery at the various hospitals, health Centres, and clinics, in the region constituted only 35 percent of the total number of births, while trained Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) constitute 10 percent of the number.

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He said the remaining 55 per cent were pregnant women who gave birth at home with or without the assistance of professionals and who might not have had any antenatal services during the pregnancy and at birth.

This practice greatly contributes to the high incidence of maternal mortalities in the region, he said.

The Director said lack of health personnel, especially midwives and community health nurses, and obsolete equipment being used in the various hospitals, anaemia malnutrition, infection, and bleeding were some of the causes of mortality in mothers.

Other social causes to maternal mortality and poverty are ignorance, outmoded socio-cultural practices where lactating mothers are forbidden to see the sunshine until the sixth week after birth.

He said some cultural practices forbade pregnant women from eating nutritious foods such as chicken and eggs adding that pregnant women rather need additional feeding to enable them become healthier to have successful delivery.

Dr Amankwa suggested the institution of a comprehensive training scheme for midwives and mass training of health personnel as a remedy to the general poor health delivery situation in the region.

Source: gna
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