Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye (seated 4th from left),  Director-General, GHS, and some members of the Ghana Midwifery Association at the event in Cape Coast
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye (seated 4th from left), Director-General, GHS, and some members of the Ghana Midwifery Association at the event in Cape Coast

Nation records reduction in neonatal, maternal mortalities

There has been a decrease in neonatal and institutional maternal mortalities in the country. While the former decreased from 7.1 per 10,000 births to 6.5 per 10,000 births last year, institutional maternal mortality ratio (IMMR), also reduced marginally from 111 per 100,000 live births to 102 per 100,000 over the period.


The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, who made this known, said although the figures seemed marginal, they were remarkable gains.

He, therefore, commended midwives and other health personnel for their tireless efforts in achieving this feat, adding that there had also been significant improvement in maternal and newborn health outcomes over the last decade.

The Director-General was addressing delegates at the 32nd International Day of the Midwife in Cape Coast in the Central Region, on the theme: “Together again, from evidence to reality.”

Awards were also given to 22 midwives, one each from the 16 regions and five from Teaching Hospitals in the country for their dedication to duty.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye further disclosed that total maternal deaths decreased by some 70 maternal lives saved, moving from 875 deaths in 2021 to 805 deaths at the close of 2022.  

He added that the midwife to women in fertility age (WIFA) ratio had also been improving, moving from one midwife to 720 women in fertility age in 2017, to one midwife to 387 women in fertility age in 2021.

According to Dr Kuma-Aboagye, haemoglobin checks at registration and the incidence of anaemia in late pregnancy (36 weeks) had also been on a decline over the past couple of years, while skilled delivery coverage and antenatal care (ANC) clients making fourth visits had been on an increasing trajectory over the years.

He said the absolute number of midwives in the country had now surpassed the World Health Organisation’s standard of six to seven midwives per 1,000 institutional deliveries by almost two folds.

The nation currently has 13 midwives per 1,000 institutional deliveries.


Dr Kuma-Aboagye, however, said that there was an urgent need to restructure the health system to promote midwifery leadership at all levels.

“We, as a matter of urgency, need to restructure our health system to promote midwifery leadership at all levels, embrace midwifery innovation, encourage evidence-based practice and institute the character of empathy in our midwives, allowing for the practice to be guided by the sensitivities of our clients.

“Midwives continue to work under harsh conditions, oftentimes at the peril of their own progress and cost to their families.

“If we intend to attain the maternal and newborn health outcomes we desire, we would need to come together once more and move from the glaring evidence that midwives indeed save lives to addressing the challenges that confront midwives in reality,” he said.

A deputy Minister of Health, Tina Mensah, commended the midwives for working to save lives and supporting policies aimed at enhancing health service delivery despite their challenges.

Condition of service

The President of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association, Netta Forson Ackon, called for better conditions of service to empower members to give of their best.

The UNFPA Country Representative, Dr David Wilfred Ochan, described midwives as frontline heroes and urged stakeholder agencies to work to scale up best practices to help achieve zero preventable deaths.

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