The fourth symposium of preeclampsia action group, APEC Ghana, is seeking the collaboration of multiple stakeholders in addressing the prime cause of maternal and perinatal deaths in the country.
Eclampsia, the most common among hypertensive disorders of pregnancy is affecting 19.4 per cent of pregnancies.
APEC Ghana, leading efforts to ease the death grip, among other initiatives has organised a symposium on the theme “Research, Policy, and Religion: The Potential Role of Multi Sectorial Collaboration to Improve Outcomes of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy, and was held at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) in Ho.
The event was carried virtually and speakers from diverse disciplines and expertise.
Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyoh, medical practitioner, who is the prime investigator of a study Severe Preeclampsia Adverse Outcome Triage (SPOT), said the condition is among the top three causes of neonatal mortality, and impacted heaviest on the African Continent.
He said winning the fight would require prediction and appropriate preventive technologies, as well as early detection, management, and improved quality care.
Dr Srofenyoh called for more research and collaboration among stakeholders.
The SPOT was initiated in 2017 to enable academia, the health service, and other institutions to work together on cutting through the disease, and said a SPOT bio study was underway to quantify the relationship between genomes and occurrences.
Dr. Abraham Baidoo, a speaker at the symposium, said “poor multi-disciplinary approach” to the challenge, and the excessive cost of interventions, which were outside the net of the national health insurance policy, remained prime challenges.
He said there also existed an inadequacy of equipment and tools to track fetal development, and said it could be addressed through the support of the private sector.
Dr. Baidoo believed that policy could be focused towards enhancing the management of cases, and to mainstream the use of magnesium sulphate and other intervention drugs.
Professor Evelyn Korkor Ansah, Director of the UHAS Centre for Malaria Research, in a keynote address, shared the trauma that women, husbands and whole families endured as eclampsia claimed 99 per cent of hypertension in pregnancy.
“The challenge is that several women are completely unaware that the situation affects many women. Many women are completely unaware of the signs until it is close to their doorstep.
“No woman must die doing what is a perfectly natural thing to do; giving birth,” she said, and called on health authorities to provide detailed communication on the risks.
The Director added that it would be important to consider religious beliefs and practices in encouraging the role of medical science, and said husbands should be considered indispensable communication agents.
“This is an opportunity for collaboration with traditional and religious believers, communities, and husbands,” Mrs. Ansah stated.
Justice George Buadi, Supervising High Court Judge for Volta and Oti, who was the Guest Speaker, called for the inclusion of more stakeholders to reach out to the legislature and the judiciary, in view of constitutional powers to help get things done.
Prof. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, President, Trinity Theological College, said the popularity of traditional and religious healing centers demanded that the health service considered sending medical teams to such places, and be able to liaise with the camps to help facilitate referrals to professional health centers towards a reduction in deaths.
Prof. Harry Tagbor, Pro Vice Chancellor of UHAS, chaired the symposium, and drew the curtains by reiterating calls to consider all stakeholders in the fight, and to leverage on recent technologies including social media in educating the populations.
APEC Ghana was formed in 2017 by Mrs. Koiwah Koi-Lamb Ofosuapea, a four-time survivor of the disease, who is currently the Executive Director.