A report by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) shows that Ghana has recorded 1,022 maternal deaths in 2011, representing 173 deaths per 100,000 live births.

It  indicated an increase compared to 894 deaths, representing 166 per 100,000 live births in 2010.

Hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and complications of unsafe abortions were among the causes of the deaths, and still births, which accounted for two per cent of all births, were also recorded in 2011.

Family planning, component of maternal health in reducing maternal mortality rate in Ghana, recorded a continuous decline in its acceptor rate from 42.1 per cent in 2009, to 34.7 per cent in 2010, and a further decline to 28.1 per cent in 2011.

The report also indicated that while antenatal care was nearing universal coverage, skilled attendance at delivery, post-natal care, nutrition services, including breastfeeding, appropriate complimentary feeding for infants and young children, appropriate nutrition, particularly for pregnant women and children needed, to be addressed.

The report was made known at an annual conference of the Family Health Division of the GHS, in Koforidua, to assess progress of implementation in of programmes of reproductive health, child health and nutrition, to determine ways of improving execution of key interventions to ensure that Ghana meets the Millennium Development Goals four and five in particular on the theme ?Building Capacity to Accelerate the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals? (MDG).

Dr Mrs Gloria Quansah Asare, the Director of Family Health Division, said who made the disclosure said in tackling the challenges, an MDG Accelerated Framework, Country Action Plan and a Nationwide Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care  assessment had been carried out to identify priority areas and gaps that needed to be addressed in skilled attendance at delivery, emergency obstetric and newborn care as well as other cross cutting issues.

She noted that despite intensified efforts in many areas, maternal mortality remained a challenge due to several factors such as poor health status indicators, utilization and coverage services, inadequate human resources and infrastructure and referral systems.

Dr Asare acknowledged the immense contribution of the former First lady, Dr Naadu Mills, for launching the Regional Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa  and soliciting for support for maternal and newborn health and personally being involved in other interventions aimed at reducing maternal deaths to the barest minimum.

Dr Asare said that the department would continue to come up with strategies that would involve all stakeholders in reducing maternal mortality and that of children to ensure that Ghana meets the MDG?s by the year 2015.

Dr Enyimayew, a Health Consultant, said the high maternal and child mortality was a challenge, and the GHS must devise a strategy of building the capacity of all health workers, to be able handle aspects of maternal and childcare, to expand skills of health personnel as well as performance in meeting targets.

Source: GNA

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