Ghana unable to achieve goals to reduce maternal, infant deaths

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Sherry Ayittey, Health MinisterGhana may not be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set for the reduction of maternal  and infant deaths, the Greater Accra Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Linda Van otoo has said.

MDG Four requires countries to reduce child deaths by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, while Goal Five states that maternal deaths should also be reduced by three-quarters between the same period.

Dr Van otoo stated that unless drastic efforts were made at all levels by all stakeholders, Ghana would be one of the countries worldwide that would not achieve  MDG four and five.
She noted  that the country still faced challenges of road access and infrastructure; access to health facilities, cultural beliefs and practices, weak referral system between health facilities, lack of

blood products, inadequate number of midwives, and weak implementation of health interventions.

Dr Van otoo was speaking at the Fifth Annual Forum of the Greater Accra Region of the Ghana Coalition of Non-governmental Organisations in Health help in Accra last Wednesday.

The forum discussed the theme: “Civil societies for strong recognition of sexual and reproductive health rights and the unmet health MDG targets and indictors in the post-2015 development framework”.

Dr Van otoo cited, for instance, that the Greater Accra Region recorded 1,857 child deaths in 2011 and 1,987 in 2012.

She also emphasised the need to minimise the weaknesses in the health delivery system by improving on  the blood transfusion services, specialist outreach and  infrastructure development, including hospital facilities and roads.

She advised pregnant women to follow medical instructions and check their diet since these were major causes of complications that led to maternal death.

Dr Van otoo urged the NGOs to support community structures to increase early utilisation of health facilities and also build strong partnerships with local health authorities.

The Vice-Chairman of the Greater Accra Region branch of the Ghana Coalition of NGOs, Mr Braimah Abdulah, called on political leaders and the government to support dedicated and specific health goals which focused on ending HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, maternal death and reproductive ill health.

Mr Abdulah also urged the government to resource the NGOs adequately to enable them to improve their health education and sensitisation  activities.

Story: Salomey Appiah