No woman must die through childbirth

BY: Daily Graphic
No woman must die  through childbirth

All over the world, the birth of a baby brings joy to a family and a community because the new member signals progress and increase.

It also results in celebrations and the mother quickly forgets the pain and discomfort she had to endure throughout the nine months she carried the baby in her womb, as well as the pain of childbirth.

Unfortunately, in our part of the world, the expected joy from childbirth sometimes turn to sorrow, as women experience complications in the process and lose their babies and, in some cases, their own lives.

The complications and fatalities arising out of childbirth are due to many factors, including delay in healthcare interventions for expectant mothers.

But this ought not to be so at all.

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In spite of the significant investment in healthcare delivery, Ghana still has a long way to go in its effort to reduce maternal mortality and child morbidity.

According to the United Nations, in 2013, when Ghana had an estimated population of over 25.9 million, 3,100 women died for reasons related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Maternal mortality reduced from 760 to 380 deaths per 100,000 live births between 1990 and 2013 and was expected to fall further to 358 per 100,000 live births in 2015.

But while that is still higher than the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Five target of 190 deaths per 100,000 live births, that feat has not been achieved.

According to the second Ghana Maternal Health Survey (GMHS) undertaken between June 15 and October 12, 2017 which sampled 27,000 households nationwide, maternal mortality went up from 350 deaths per 100,000 live births to 380 per 100,000 live births, which indicates that Ghana has a persistently high maternal mortality rate, in spite of efforts made to meet MDG 5.

Although the Health Minister, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, disclosed in October last year that the maternal mortality ratio was 319 per 100,000 live births and the neonatal mortality rate was 29 per 1,000 live births, there is still cause for concern.

It is for this reason that the Daily Graphic lauds the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, for her involvement in the construction of the Baby and Mother Unit at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, which has resulted in a reduction in maternal mortality at the hospital after barely four months of operation.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of KATH, Dr Oheneba Owusu-Danso, mortality rate reduced from 15.9 per cent in 2017 to 11.3 per cent between April and July 2018, which is a very laudable achievement.

He said during the period, neonatal admissions were 1,854, compared to 1,834 during the same period in 2017, while pre-term admissions also increased from 494 in 2017 to 516 in 2018, with mortality figures dropping from 114 to 63.

The Daily Graphic also extols the MTN Foundation for providing a 40-bed maternity block for the Tema General Hospital and urges the government and other stakeholders in the healthcare sector to emulate such sterling examples.

A study published in the Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal, which covered 1990 to 2013 said the commonest causes of maternal mortality included postpartum haemorrhage (bleeding after birth), complications from unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and obstructed labour.

We pray that the people who man all healthcare facilities would attend to pregnant women and also focus on the root causes of mortality among our women and babies.