Great news as maternal deaths decline significantly in U/E Region

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Maternal deaths have declined significantly in the Upper East Region within the first 10-months of 2022.

At the end of October 2022, the region recorded 22 deaths, compared to the 39 deaths recorded within the same period in 2021 and 42 deaths in the whole of 2021.

This is attributed to the many interventions being rolled out at the regional, district and community levels by the authorities of the Ghana Health Service and partners in the region.

Dr Josephat Nyuzaghl, the Deputy Regional Director, Ghana Health Service in charge of Public Health, announced this in Bolgatanga at the launch of a STAR-Ghana Gender Rights and Empowerment Project (G-REP) organised by the Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment (RISE-Ghana), a Non- Governmental Organisation.

The three-year project with funding support from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is aimed at strengthening health committees and citizens groups to champion access to quality maternal health in the Talensi and Nabdam Districts.

Dr Nyuzaghl underscored the need for collective and sustained efforts from all stakeholders to consolidate the gains made in reducing maternal deaths.

He, however, said the Eastern corridor of the region, comprising the Bawku enclave had in recent years recorded high maternal deaths and noted that lack of district hospitals to serve as referral facilities and other critical health professionals contributed to that effect.

He expressed the hope that government’s agenda 111 and the move by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council to task all the Municipal and Districts in the region to take measures to attract medical doctors to their respective areas would contribute to address the problem and improve upon maternal and child health.

“Last year, more than 50 per cent of the deaths came from Bawku, Pusiga, Tempane, Garu, Binduri and Zebilla enclave but a lot of work has gone on at the community level to try to encourage them to report early for antenatal care and get the minimum package for pregnant women,” he added.

Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, the Executive Director, RISE-Ghana, said apart from the country’s agenda of achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals called for the need to prioritise and improve healthcare delivery systems, especially at the health facility level for improved maternal health.

To this end, he said, the project sought to mobilise women, girls and citizen groups, including civil society organisations and the media to champion issues of maternal health financing and policy implementation to ensure that the service provided at the healthcare facilities were quality and accessible.

He said as part of the project, the facility health committees in 14 sub-districts and health facilities in the two districts would be strengthened to use the scorecard to help them develop action plans.

“We want to further use these action plans to influence the budget and plans of the local district assemblies in Talensi and Nabdam as well as engage the private sector actors.

“We want to create an enabling environment and local dialogue around increasing financing for maternal health service delivery,” Mr Kariama added.

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