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UN system initiates advocacy campaign on maternal health, girl-child education

BY: Doreen Andoh
Mr Girmay Haile, USAID Country Director

The United Nations (UN) systems in Ghana have jointly initiated an advocacy campaign on maternal health and girl-child education in support of the government’s effort to attain the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) five by 2015.

The MDG five mandates countries that have signed onto it, including Ghana, to improve maternal health by reducing maternal mortality ratio to about 185 per every 100,000 live births by 2015.

The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of maternal health and girl-child education to ensure that no woman dies during child birth and all girl children have access to education as required by the MDG.

The campaign would focus on transition from the primary to the secondary level.

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On maternal health, the campaign would operate with the slogan, “No woman should die giving life” while on the girl-child education it will operate on the slogan, “Empowering girls for a stronger Ghana”. 

Campaign launch

Launching the campaign in Accra, the USAID Country Director, Mr Girmay Haile, said the UN local team had identified the MDG accelerated framework on maternal health and girl-child education as two critical areas requiring public communication initiatives. 

He said about 3,800 Ghanaian mothers die annually during pregnancy and delivery, describing the number as unacceptably high from the perspective of reaching MDG five. 

He said the UN estimated Ghana’s population at over 25 million in 2013 and according to the UN estimates, 3,100 women died that year as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

Mr Haile pointed out that due to considerable investment in the local healthcare system by various governments and stakeholders, maternal mortality decreased from 760 to 380 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births between 1990 and 2013, but indicated that currently, Ghana was not on track to reaching the 75 per cent  reduction in the maternal mortality rate required under the MDG five.

He said if the current trend continued, the maternal mortality rate in Ghana would be 358 per 100,000 live births by 2015, which he described as considerably higher than  the MDG five target.

Medical experts say most of the maternal deaths in Ghana were preventable and about 65 per cent were due to postpartum haemorrhage, hypertensive disorders, abortion sepsis, among other causes.

Girls’ education

On girl-child education, Mr Haile said the UN was pleased to see Ghana achieve parity between boys and girls in primary school.

He, however, said the gap bridged in the primary school level widened at the secondary level and by the tertiary level, there were approximately twice as many boys as girls.

“We are not talking enough about girls and certainly not enough about the transformative role they could and should have in growing Ghana‘s economy, if they receive the right investment”, he said.

He called on the public to support mothers and girls to ensure that they were given bright and healthy future.

Mr Haile said, with such co-operation, important improvements for women and girls could be made.