The Eastern Region has recorded 61 maternal deaths out of 31,380 deliveries recorded from January - June 2017, as compared to 58 deaths out of 30,945 deliveries for the same period in 2016.
Dr Mrs Charity Sarpong, the Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, who disclosed this at a mid-year performance review meeting, said ‘’we find this unacceptable since several interventions have been put in place to improve maternal health’’.
She said in order to reduce maternal death, interventions such as the PICCAM strategy, zoning the region into five with each zone being assigned an Obstetrician /Gynecologist specialist, building capacity of health staff on safe motherhood protocols and setting up a maternal and Neonatal Audit Implementation and Tracking Committee have been instituted.
Speaking on the theme “improving maternal health care delivery in the region –the Critical role of health professionals’’, she said data management has improved significantly at all levels with respect to data entry, timeliness and quality and surveillance activities.
Dr Sarpong said with support from the Ghana Health Service and USAID, the region successfully implemented the Last Mile Distribution Project which seeks to improve logistics and medicines availability in the health facilities across the districts in the region.
The Regional Director said the shortage of critical staff especially in the rural communities, poor infrastructure as well as lack of ambulance for prompt referrals and inadequate funds still remained a challenge.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director Family Health, said some key indicators including skilled delivery, newborn care, adolescent health, nutrition and immunization amongst others were critical to reducing maternal deaths.
He urged the regional health administration to take advantage of new initiatives in training midwives in limited Ultrasonography, task sharing, Iron Folate Supplementation for Adolescent Girls under the GIFTS Program as well as new WHO recommendations to improve maternal health outcomes.
In a speech read on behalf of the Eastern Regional Minister Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour said despite the interventions and strides made, there is more to be done to meet the sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 which seeks to provide good health and well living for all people.
He said government acknowledged the challenges faced by health practitioners in the course of their duties and called for continuous dialogue together to find a holistic approach in handling issues that affect the development of the health sector.