‘Pregnancy-related diseases claim lives of more women’

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm April 28, 2017 14:06

‘Pregnancy-related diseases claim lives of more women’

Pregnancy-related diseases claimed the lives of 1,033 women in 2016, the Director of Family Health of the Ministry of Health, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has disclosed. Even though he could not provide figures for 2015 when quizzed, he stated that the 2016 figure was an increase over those recorded in 2015.

He was speaking at the opening session of the annual review conference of the Family Health Division of the Ministry of Health in Sunyani last Wednesday.

The occasion was also used to launch the Seventh African Vaccination (AVW) and the 2017 Child Health Promotion Week (CHPW).

The five-day conference, which is being held on the theme: “Improving quality of care to ensure survival, thriving and transformation for national development,” is aimed at reviewing the successes and failures of the division during the period under review.

Statistics

According to Dr Kuma-Aboagye, 773 deaths, representing 74.8 per cent, occurred in the GHS and the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) facilities, while 25.2 per cent of the deaths were recorded at the teaching hospitals.

Maternal deaths, according to him, had been consistently increasing in the teaching hospitals for the past three years with the Greater Accra Region continuing to record the highest number of maternal deaths, even though the region had seen consistent declines since 2014.

Whereas the Brong-Ahafo and Eastern regions were recording steady declines, the Central and Northern regions have been reporting significant increases since 2014.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye explained that out of the 1,033 maternal deaths recorded, 872, representing 84.4 per cent, had been audited and identified with 585, representing 56 per cent, being attributed to direct causes.

“Haemorrhage continues to be the leading direct cause of maternal death with hypertensive disorders following closely as the second direct cause of maternal deaths in the country,” he added.

Human resources and logistics

Dr Kuma-Aboagye said feedback reports from the region identified inadequate human resource and logistics, poor data management, as well as inadequate monitoring and supervision of service provision, especially at the peripheral levels, and weak community engagement, among the key contributory factors to the downwards trends.

He added that to address the challenges, several actions had been initiated by the region, including capacity building for midwives, task shifting, staff rationalisation and reposting, and orientation of service providers on data collection and reporting tools.

In addition, monitoring and supervision were being intensified with monthly data validation and verification schedules being adhered to while home visits to register pregnant women were being carried out in some districts.

“The Heath Promotion Department is expected to liaise with all regions, particularly those which recorded declines to improve engagement with communities to promote awareness of the need for early and conscious antenatal care attendance,” he stressed.

Health minister

In an address read on his behalf by one of his deputies, Ms Tina Mensah, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, observed that the policy of having all pregnant women visit antenatal clinics at least four times during the course of their pregnancies, though laudable, was becoming difficult to achieve with coverage data declining over the past five years.

“With the increased training and posting of midwives to the regions and subsequently to the districts, one would expect antenatal coverage to improve,” he said.

Mr Agyemang-Manu stated that the ministry would, therefore, pursue appropriate measures with urgency, including posting staff to areas where they were needed most, and explained that that was needed because low contact with pregnant women could impact directly on skilled delivery coverage and maternal mortality especially at the time when “we are being called to increase minimum contact from four to eight in line with international best practices”.

Vital role

He reminded the participants that the success of every healthcare system depended on the vital role they played as managers in meeting the organisation’s key strategic and quality improvement goals and gave an assurance of government’s commitment and support to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and other health service providers to put in place measures to reduce incidences of maternal mortality.

He said improving maternal and newborn health remained a critical area of focus by the Ministry of Health, GHS and other partners to achieve relevant global and national targets to save lives and improve quality of life and called on the health workers, parents, teachers, the media, religious leaders and community members to mobilise children in their communities for the immunisation exercise to ensure that they would become healthy adults.

On the CHPW and AVW immunisation exercise slated for May 8-12, 2017, he explained that the exercise would help prevent childhood diseases such as measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, pertussis, yellow fever and polio that used to kill and permanently maim hundreds of children annually in Ghana.

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Lorlornyofm
By Lorlornyofm April 28, 2017 14:06
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