EASTERN regional branch of the Ghana Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) in Health is calling for urgent steps to help address the high maternal mortality rate in the region.
Eastern Region seems to be losing the fight against maternal mortality as the region continues to record high maternal deaths. As high as 105 maternal deaths were recorded from January to November, 2017.
Sixty-one of the maternal deaths were recorded from January to June, 2017, out of 31,380 deliveries within the period.
An audit report on the maternal deaths recorded in the region during the mid-year review by Maternal and Perinatal Mortality Audit Implementation Tracking Committee highlighted eclampsia /hypertensive disease in pregnancy, haemorrhage, amniotic fluid, unsafe abortion, and HIV/AIDS as the top five causes of the maternal deaths recorded in the region.
The audit report also indicated that 89% of the maternal deaths were avoidable because 53% were health worker-related, while 36% were facility/administration-related, which included lack of ambulance, oxygen and resuscitation equipment.
The audit report indicated that 47.3% of pregnant women who died during the year under review never attended antenatal care. The president of Divine Mother and Child Foundation, an NGO, Mr Edmund Duodu, made similar observations having worked three years and providing maternal care in rural parts of the Eastern Region.
Mr Duodu, whose NGO, Free Ultra Sound Services, helped to identified pregnant women carrying dead fetuses, suggested that ultra sound scan must be made available in all health facilities to help identify real pregnancy challenges of women on time for redress.
He also wants laboratory services made available in Community-based Health Planning Services compounds and other health centres to provide services to pregnant women since most pregnant women, due to poverty, fail to travel to hospitals on referral for further laboratory tests.
The Eastern Regional Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr Charity Sarpong, has also said the increase in the maternal deaths in the region was unacceptable, given that many interventions made available.
He mentioned the interventions to include the PICCAM strategy launched in 2015; demarcation of the entire region into five zones with each zone being assigned an obstetrician/gynaecologist; and setting up of a maternal and neonatal audit implementation and tracking committee, all meant to reduce the rate of maternal mortality.