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Nothern Region records reduction in maternal mortality

BY: Mohammed Fugu

The Northern Region has recorded a reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity cases within the past two years.

The region recorded 73 maternal deaths in 2020, the figure decreased to 70 in 2021, while 34 cases have so far been registered in the fi rst half of 2022. The figure is projected to reduce by the close of the year.

An Obstetrics and Gynaecology Specialist at the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Dr Hawa Malechi, who said this added that although there had been a marginal reduction in mortality, much needed to be done to significantly reduce the figures.

She attributed the causes of maternal deaths to teenage pregnancy, sickle cell diseases, ruptured uterus, anaemia, eclampsia and unsafe abortion-related complications.

Campaign

Dr Malechi was speaking at the launch of a campaign in Tamale by the Northern Regional Health Directorate as part of measures to eliminate the phenomenon in the region.

It is aimed at raising awareness of strategies and approaches to reduce maternal and morbidity deaths from preventable causes, including unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

The programme which was attended by some health officials from various districts in the region was also to build the capacity of participants on sexual and reproductive health services, its accessibility, availability and affordability, among other topics.

Dr Malechi, who is also a lecturer at the School of Medicine at the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, further said the region recorded an increase in abortion cases from 2,418 in 2020, to 2,949 in 2021.

She said some of the abortion cases stemmed from unplanned and unintended pregnancies, poverty, lack of birth spacing and medical complications.

The specialist, therefore, called on the government to institutionalise comprehensive abortion care in both public and private health facilities to ensure standardised services.

“Maternal mortality and morbidity resulting from unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions are one of the biggest challenges which are being neglected, so stakeholders must institute comprehensive programmes and systems to ensure we reduce such incidents”, she said.

Dr Malechi also called for more public education in the use of family planning methods to help control unintended pregnancies in women.

Commitment

During a stakeholders’ discussion, the participants pledged their commitment to ensure they championed advocacy against unsafe abortions by educating members of their respective communities on the legal and health implications of abortion to help reduce the practice.