The Central Region recorded a significant reduction in the incidence of maternal and perinatal deaths in the year 2022, the Regional Health Directorate has averred.
This means that fewer expectant mothers, unborn and newly born babies died in that year than they did in the previous year.
Dr Akosua Agyeiwaa Owusu-Sarpong, the Regional Health Director, disclosed that the number of pregnant women who died out of every 100,000 reduced from 104 in 2021 to 90.9 in 2022.
Similarly, the number of newborn babies who died out of every 1,000 live births came down to 4.8 in 2022 from the 6.9 recorded in 2021, she added.
“There were similar gains in the still birth rates as well; from 12.7 per 1000 live births to 11.2 per 1000 LBs between 2021 and 2022,” she said.
Dr Owusu-Sarpong touted the achievements at the 2022 Central Regional Health Sector Performance Review Meeting in Cape Coast to assess the successes and shortcomings in the sector and develop new methods to improve their performance.
The two-day meeting of all major health stakeholders from across the region is on the theme: “Sustaining the gains in service performance through improved governance and quality of care, towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage: The role of stakeholders.”
The health director attributed the “tremendous progress” to efforts and resources health professionals in the region invested in maternal health initiatives in health facilities across the region.
“We have made significant gains and in last Neonatal care assessment, Central Region was adjudged the safest Region to deliver in Ghana,” she said.
She intimated that the region had performed creditably well in many areas and built a robust public health and surveillance system over the years to detect and handle epidemic and other disease outbreaks.
She said they had improved tuberculosis case detection from 49.6 per cent in 2021 to 65.8 per cent while “HIV indicators have also improved as we have improved linkage to HIV care from 55.2 per cent in 2021 to 71.44 per cent in 2022.”
Dr Owusu-Sarpong said the directorate was working relentlessly to build quality leadership and governance systems in all the health institutions to further enhance service delivery.
“Quality of care and Quality improvement initiatives have already been institutionalised in our facilities. We will continue to monitor the functionality of these systems using our integrated supportive supervision and peer review monitoring tools,” she stated.
Dr Owusu-Sarpong was, however, concerned about how the region could sustain and consolidate the achievements to further reduce the burden of maternal related mortalities.
She, therefore, charged medical superintendents, district directors, medical doctors, midwives, and all health professionals to adhere to various guidelines established on maternal and perinatal health services.
“If we are able to sustain the monitoring, training, and the capacity building for our clinical teams and strengthen accountability mechanisms for maternal deaths as well as still births, I am very convinced that we will make further progress with our maternal health indicators,” she stated.
The health director further reported that the regional Covid-19 vaccination coverage for eligible persons fully vaccinated had hit 52 per cent as of Friday, March 3, 2023.
She, however, observed that vaccine refusals and hesitancy largely driven by myths, misinformation, and fears continued to thwart the agenda for herd immunity.
She, therefore, appealed to all stakeholders and partners to join the crusade to demystify vaccines and lessen the resistance among the people.
Dr Owusu-Sarpong acknowledged the myriad of challenges faced by health professionals in the region and assured that the directorate was working hard to improve the situation.
Prof. Johnson Nyarko Boampong, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, and chairman of the meeting, noted that it was critical for Ghana to strive to achieve universal health coverage to have meaningful development.
In view of that, he said UCC had been at the forefront of training health professionals at all levels to help attain the feat.
He commended all health personnel for their commitment and sacrifices in ensuring quality health care delivery, particularly at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.