The Eastern Regional Director of Health Dr. Winfred Ofosu has disclosed that region maternal deaths in the region are increasing despite measures put in place over the years.
Sixty-two (62) pregnant women have died in health facilities from January 2022 to September 20, 2022.
The number could be higher as deaths recorded in communities in the hands of traditional birth attendants are mostly concealed from the heath Directorate.
Low antenatal coverage, socio-cultural factors, lack of logistics, equipment, and blood at healthcare facilities has been largely blamed as reasons for high maternal deaths.
Other causes noted to be directly associated with maternal deaths include hemorrhage, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders, infections, and obstructed labor while indirect causes, include malaria, HIV/AIDS, and anemia. Other factors like poverty, lack of skilled health personnel, and poor transport system have contributed to the high maternal mortality ratio in Ghana.
“These factors have all been noted to contribute to one of the three delays; delay in deciding to go to the hospital, delay in arriving at the hospital, and a delay in getting treatment at a health facility” .Dr. Winfred Ofosu, Eastern Regional Director of Ghana Health Service said this in a pressing engagement on Tuesday, September 20, 2022
According to Dr. Winfred Ofosu, there are critical factors that contribute to maternal mortality in Ghana and such factors could be attributed to the refusal of referrals to higher levels, refusal of surgical interventions, visiting herbalists or prayer camps for concoctions, inadequate ambulances vehicles, illegal abortions, late arrival to health facilities.
Therefore, he warned pregnant women to refrain from visiting Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) during the period of delivery since the most critical time of pregnancy is during delivery hence he urged pregnant women to avail themselves at a health facility during the delivery period.
Dr. Winfred said the health Directorate will continue to collaborate with Police to smoke out traditional birth attendants and spiritualists whose actions are established to have contributed to the death of any pregnant woman.
He highlighted that the maternal mortality ratio remains very high in developing countries Ghana is no exception to developed countries saying almost 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, and half of the percentage occurs in sub-Saharan Africa.
He added that Ghana’s maternal mortality ratio declined from 760 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 319 per 100,000 live births in 2015, therefore the paste of decline in maternal mortality has been slow and this has led to Ghana’s inability to achieve the millennium development goal target of 190 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015.
He reiterated that the maternal mortality ratio remains high and requires strenuous effort if Ghana must achieve the sustainable development goal target of 70 per 100,000 live births in 2030.
He further revealed that most maternal deaths occur in rural areas as compared to urban areas, this he said is largely attributed to the high prevalence of the scale birth attendance of about 74% in the urban areas as compared to 43% in the rural areas.