N/R best performing region in neonatal health care • But has high maternal deaths

The Northern Region has been adjudged the best performing region in the country in the neonatal health care in 2016 by the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
Under the GHS National League Table, the region recorded one death per every 100,000 live births.

The Northern Regional Director of Health, Dr. Jacob Mahama, disclosed this in a speech reach on his behalf at the launch of a project by the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) to promote maternal and neonatal health care in the region. The project dubbed: “Promoting Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Sustainable Health Efforts” (PROMISE), seeks to reduce maternal and infant mortality by delivering essential health services to mothers, pregnant women, newborns and children under five years.

Dr. Mahama said, inspite of the region achieving the highest antenatal coverage in the country, the region was last with regard to maternal deaths. The region registered 67 maternal deaths in 2014, 93 in 2015, and 138 in 2016.

The Kumbungu District Health Director, Mrs. Joana Quarcoo, for her part, said anaemia was among the major causes of maternal deaths in the region. She said most of the expectant mothers in the region suffered from anaemia due to poor eating habits, and urged expectant mothers to be more concerned about what they ate.

Mrs. Quarcoo, however, said low acceptance of family planning in the region, inadequate health personnel, poor road networks and transportation also contributed to the high maternal and child mortalities in the region.

Source: Daily Graphic, Friday, March 24, 2017

Maternal deaths are social injustice – Medical doctor

ghana health serviceThe Western Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang, has described maternal deaths as social injustice. He therefore called for a multi- sectorial approach and commitment from stakeholders to ensure that no woman died from “giving life”.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency held in Sekondi on issues of maternal health and disease burden in the Region, Dr. Tinkorang reported that 92 maternal deaths were recorded in 2016 as against 75 in 2015. He further explained the deaths was due to pregnancy induced hypertension and bleeding after labor.

Out of the figure, 27 were referred from other districts and remote areas to the Effia Nkwanta Regional hospitals at an irreversible stage. He said the problem could be as a result of multiple pregnancies and hypertension in the pregnant women.

Dr. Tinkorang advised, knowing ones HB level from conception was very important and entreated midwives to be careful of the baseline BP of pregnant women. He added that home delivery, poor health care, last minute referral and the lack of ready blood at the blood banks could also contribute to complications that might result in maternal deaths.

The Regional Director of Health said, 30 per cent of pregnant women reported to the hospitals with low blood levels in the Region whilst 40 per cent were anaemic. He said, “A woman delivering in an anaemic state may pass out within two hours should complication set in.”
He also revealed that Effia Nkwanta, which happened to be the only referral Hospital in the Region, was over stretched whilst it lacked the needed staff and logistics to effectively deliver on its mandate. He suggested that the focus should be the decentralization and retooling of hospitals such as Tarkwa, Eikwe and Sefwi wiawso to take some of the work load on Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital.

With regards to antenatal care, he mentioned that the home environment should be supportive enough and help the pregnant mother on what to eat, visit to clinics and the need to have adequate rest. The Medical Doctor however discouraged women from using the internet as clinics for information and education adding, “They are always not the right kind of learning you need.”

Again, Dr. Tinkorang advised, frequenting the clinic during pregnancy and providing the right information or bio data and any medical conditions could also help in ensuring safe delivery. He added, “Pregnancy though a physiological process is not risk free and required quality care to save the life of the expectant mother and the unborn baby”.

Source: GNA, Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Clean water is a key to consider when preventing the transmission of a range of bacterial, viral and parasitic infections that have particularly negative effects on pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Mainly, water has a mental and emotional impact on the development of every pregnancy. Maternal hydration allows both mother and fetus to react to changes in the body. These changes keep conditions such as temperature in balance.
Drinking much water influences the amniotic fluid volume, fetal well-being, and removes toxic products. Insufficiency of clean water and living in environment with dirty stagnant water are known to lead to largely preventable water–related diseases that can lead to severe impact adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Those diseases namely: malaria, typhoid, chronic hookworm infestations like ankylostomiasis, dysentery, cholera, giardiasis, amoebiasis, etc., may result in spontaneous abortion, fetal death, maternal complications and maternal death, if appropriate anti-biotic treatment is not administered.

-Maternal Health Task Force


N/R MMDAs tasked to prioritize maternal health care

Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) in the Northern Region recorded 162 cases of maternal deaths in 2016. The number according to the Northern Regional Coordinating director, Alhaji Alhhassan Isshaku was unacceptably high, for which reason he had tasked all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the region to prioritize maternal health care in order to prevent maternal deaths in their respective areas.

According to him, it was unacceptable that many expectant mothers in the region continued to lose their lives in the course of childbirth. He said more skilled delivery attendants were needed in the various MMDAs to ensure that the incidence of maternal deaths was reduced to the barest minimum. Also, he said, maternal mortality could be improved in the region when proactive measures are put in place by the various MMDAs.

Alhaji Issahaku advised the MMDAs in the region to take advantage of the DLT to improve on key service delivery in their respective areas
The objective of the regional launch of the DLT was to bring the findings of the DLT close to the doorstep of the respective MMDAs to enable all stakeholders to familiarize themselves better with the objectives, processes and outcomes of the project.

Mr. Prosper Ahialivor, a local government expert, said the DLT would provide a platform and impetus for assembly members, opinion leaders, chiefs and civil society organizations to ask questions on how their districts were faring. He said the resulting awareness among the stakeholders and management of the MMDAs would generate healthy competition and lead to improved service delivery.

The Northern Regional Programmes Manager of CDD-Ghana, Mr. Paul Osei-Kuffour, called on the government to address the inequalities in resource allocation to the various MMDAs across the country. According to him, some key services, such as improvement in maternal health care, education and sanitation, could be addressed if the inequalities in resource allocation were addressed. He urged the various MMDAs to be innovative in generating their own internal funds (IGFs) to address the gaps in the inequalities in resource allocation.

Source: Daily Graphic, Monday, March 20, 2017

KATH re-echoes commitment to bringing down maternal health

The management of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, has re-echoed its strong commitment to substantially bring down maternal and neonatal deaths at the nation’s second largest referral facility.

Dr. Joseph Akpaloo, the Chief Executive Officer, said the specialists and consultants were ready and prepared to go the extra mile to achieve just that.

He indicated that what they needed,, was the supply of vital logistics and equipment, and the completion of the maternal and children’s block, which was started 41 years ago, to create more space for efficient care.

“We wish to place on record that our specialists and consultants are ready and willing to work even harder to further reduce the rate of maternal and neonatal deaths in Ghana.

All that we need is the necessary support including the completion of the 41-year-old maternal and children’s block project so that we will have better facilities and space to offer the needed clinical interventions in the area of paediatric and maternal health care.”

Dr. Akpaloo was speaking at the end of year performance review meeting of the hospital in Kumasi.

Maternal deaths had in the last five years, significantly dropped at the hospital – reducing from the ratio of 12.55 per 100,000 live births in 2012 to 10.20 per 100,000 live births, last year.

It has, however, been struggling with congestion and inadequate equipment at the labour wards, a situation, that has become a huge bother because of the cross infection among newborn babies and their mothers.

Dr. Akpaloo said the hospital was doing its best amid the serious challenges.

He spoke of continued re-training of staff of the obstetrics and gynaecology directorate alongside the establishment of a dedicated blood bank for the directorate and said these had helped to save more lives. There was also specialist support for 22 medical facilities in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and Western Regions, where it had been receiving most of the referral cases, to aid them to better manage obstetric and paediatric emergencies.

Source: GNA, Friday, March 17, 2017

Northern Region records 130 maternal deaths in 2016

According to figures from the Northern Regional Health Directorate, a total of 130 women died during child birth at health facilities in the Northern Region in 2016, as against 92 maternal mortality cases recorded in 2015.

During the launch of the Promoting Maternal, Newborn, Infant and Child Sustainable Health Efforts (PROMISE) project in Tamale, Madam Joana Quarcoo (Kumbungu District Director of Health) in a presentation on behalf of the Regional Public Health Nurse on the state of health in the Region said, 67 children who were aged between zero to seven days old died in 2016. She also revealed 325 children, who were from seven days to 30 days old, and 34 others, who were from 30 days to 11 months old, also died in 2016.

The four-year project (2016 – 2020), being implemented by the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), an international non-governmental organization (NGO), with funding from Global Affairs Canada, is to contribute to a reduction in maternal and child mortality in the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality, Nanumba North and Saboba Districts of the Northern Region. The project focuses on three areas including improving delivery of essential health services to mothers, pregnant women, newborns and children under five and utilization of essential health services by mothers, pregnant women, newborns and children under five.

She attributed maternal deaths recorded in the Region to various factors including delays in referral of pregnant women to other health facilities, whiles child mortality cases were as a result of malaria and other infections. She said efforts were being made to improve referrals as well as asking traditional birth attendants to bring pregnant women to hospital for care to prevent maternal deaths.

She also spoke of plans to strengthen emergency transport system to transport pregnant women to hospitals for skilled delivery.

Mr. George Baiden, Country Director of CCFC, emphasized the need for all to work to “Put the high maternal deaths behind us, let’s make it possible to attain the lowest rates of child mortality and morbidity and ensure that every child and mother lives to contribute to the development of the country.”

Source: GNA, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

McOttley foundation heartbroken by Ghana’s poor maternal health; supports “next to die” documentary

McOttley Empowerment Foundation, an independent non-governmental organization has expressed dissatisfaction with theMcOttley Empowerment Foundation, an independent non-governmental organization has expressed dissatisfaction with the state of maternal health in Ghana, especially at the Komfo Anokye Hospital.

The Foundation in keeping to its core values of promoting education, entrepreneurship and health, has therefore supported the “Next to Die” documentary, a gripping, heartbreaking story of how children die every day at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

A Joy News Special Assignment by Seth Kwame Boateng aired on the Super Morning Show and Joy News TV, on Tuesday, revealed the untold-story of the difficulties doctors and nurses go through, the pain and heartache families endure each passing day just because a maternity block started 43-years ago to help in the safe delivery of pregnant women had been abandoned. Believing government has a bigger responsibility towards an improved maternal health, McOttley Empowerment Foundation is also touched by the growing demands, necessities at the country’s hospitals and has decided to support the campaign by the Joy News team to find a lasting solution to the daily reports of baby deaths at the Komfo Anokye hospital.
The Special Assignment team at Joy News confirmed at least four babies are reported dead each day at the facility, a report that is alarming and unacceptable.

Mr. Richard Dugan, Group President of McOttley Holdings expressed their happiness to fund such reports on health which unveils the real issues in our society and calls for more action on the part of government, non-governmental organizations and corporate Ghana.
He said their main objective as a foundation is to support social impact project that has direct benefit to individuals and communities. He concluded that they will continue to support organizations such as the media who seek to work objectively and are determined to be the mouthpiece of the vulnerable in Ghana.

Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com, Tuesday, 14 March, 2017

Pregnant women confident in Ho Municipal Hospital

After recording low maternal deaths in four years, the Ho Municipal Hospital has become the toast of pregnant women. The facility came under harsh criticism from the indigenes for recording 14 maternal mortality cases in 2012 some of whom were staff of the hospital.

That narrative appears to have changed since 2014 with the facility recording two cases in 2014 and a case each in 2015 and 2016.

The Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr. Lawrence Kumi, attributed the feat to effective coordination and positive attitude towards clients, saying they delivered 1,444 babies last year but lost one. He also said the single cases recorded in 2015 and 2016 were “emergencies in bad conditions” from outside the municipal area.

According to Dr. Kumi, the history of people dying at the facility had changed to that of hope and confidence, and now the hospital had clients from across the region. He said in view of increasing number of clients, the facilities have renovated its maternity ward and upgraded it to an ultra-modern status while a new labor ward was under construction. Those projects, he said, had exerted financial pressure on the hospital. He therefore, called for support to equip the facilities with new delivery beds and suction machines.


Source: Daily Graphic, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Queenmothers advise pregnant women to seek health care

At an orientation workshop organized by the Ghana Health Service and PATH (a non-governmental organization) in Koforidua, queen mothers in the Eastern Region advised pregnant against delaying in seeking health care before their delivery. They encouraged pregnant women to continuously prepare for safe delivery by visiting health facilities regularly to check to check on their status and that of the unborn baby.

They also called on health personnel in the country to treat pregnant women with the necessary care, and avoid using abusive language which tend to discourage pregnant women from seeking prenatal care at the hospital.

Also, they added that, health personnel must realize that pregnant women go through a lot of psychological challenges and must therefore be treated with utmost care to enable them to be delivered peacefully.

In a presentation, Miss Patience Asare of PATH outlined the leading causes of newborn death in Ghana as infection, asphyzia, pre-maturity and low birth weight, among others. However, she advised pregnant women to adhere strictly to their medications and also change their attitude towards newborns, in order to curb newborn deaths in the country.

She also urged queen mothers to assist in changing negative and harmful practices that affect newborns in their localities by preaching new knowledge so as to induce understanding of the best care for newborns.

Miss Asare said, as part of efforts to reduce neonatal mortality in the country, a strategy had been initiated to train skilled attendants in essential newborn care, increase the proportion of deliveries conducted by skilled birth attendants and to increase the number of babies who were exclusively breastfed for six months. She emphasized on the point that newborn babies must receive appropriate post-natal care, including three post natal visits by the 7th day of life. That is, newborn babies should not only be sent to the hospital when they are ill.

To crown it, a medical officer at the Koforidua Regional Hospital, Dr. Jocelyn Asibey, called on the queen mothers to champion the survival of newborns in their respective traditional areas.


Source: Daily Graphic, Monday, March 13, 2017

KOICA assists elimination of maternal death in Volta Region

As part of efforts to improve maternal and child health in the Volta Region, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has presented equipment comprising medical and non-medical, to the Volta regional health directorate.

The equipment is the final package to end a three-year project of KOICA for Improving Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) in Keta, Ketu South and Ketu North districts.

The package comprised IT equipment, 18 motor bikes and IMCH health equipment such as delivery beds, delivery sets, autoclave, sterilizer and stethoscope worth 60,594.59 US dollars.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the country director for KOICA, Mr. Woochan Chang, indicated that a good foundation had been laid for the elimination of maternal death. He said, despite the numerous trainings and health interventions undertaken by KOICA, such as the capacity building of IMCH workers, awareness of IMCH in communities and strengthening the Community Health and Planning Services (CHPS), the agency recognized some gaps in the area of health system information outreach services.

In recognition of these challenges, he said, KOICA had committed an amount of 60,500 to procure equipment to offer the needed assistance. He also said it was the hope of KOICA that the districts would distribute the resources to the health centres to help achieve its goal.

Lastly, he entreated the beneficiaries to uphold high maintenance schedules to keep the equipment in good condition to prevent them from becoming defective in just some few years.

To conclude, the acting Volta Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Yaw Ofori-Yeboah, asserted that before the project, the region was facing a major challenge of dealing with maternal health problems, however, the support of KOICA have put the region in a comfortable position than before.


Source: Daily Graphic