Health Minister restates Gov’ts commitment to reducing maternal mortality

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Maternal mortality rate
Maternal mortality

Mr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Minister of Health, has expressed the the government’s commitment to continue to scale up proven interventions to ultimately reduce maternal mortality rate.

He said such interventions would enhance access to skilled birth attendants and ensure comprehensive antenatal and postnatal care for all women.

The Minister said this at the fourth National Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) Conference 2023 in Accra, on the theme: “Strengthening service delivery for quality and accessible RMNCAH&N outcomes to meet the SDGs midpoint and beyond”.

The fourth National Conference is expected to reflect on new initiatives and strengthening of all levels of the health system with special focus on the sub-district level of service delivery.

Mr Manu said the Ministry would also continue to improve health care infrastructure, training and posting of healthcare professionals and advocacy on maternal health issues to ensure that significant strides were made towards safe and positive birth experiences for every mother.

“I will also among other things build on successes of previous conferences organised to further advance knowledge, share best practices and foster collaboration towards improving health systems to ensure quality and accessible service delivery in line with the SDGs and other global commitments,” he added.

The Minister said child health, nutrition and reduction of maternal and child mortality remained a top priority for the government, saying modest gains had been made in the last two decades.

He said, “Maternal Health as we may know is at the heart of our efforts, as we recognise the fundamental right of every woman to access quality and equitable healthcare during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period.”

Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director General, Ghana Health Service, said implementation of priority interventions and services targeted at reducing mortality and morbidity among mothers and children had faced some challenges.

He said “these are evident in the rate of pregnancy-related deaths of women, which is in sharp contrast to the gains made in maternal, child health and nutrition.”

“The prevailing stagnating situations in some of our health care efforts such as the anaemia in women and children and the slow pace in the reduction of neonatal mortality rate, which undermines the progress towards the achievement of the health-related SDG targets as well as stunting and wasting amongst children under five remain high with wide regional disparities,” he noted.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye said other threats to improved health outcomes were the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and the triple burden of malnutrition, including overweight, under nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.

Dr Sofonias Asrat, a Representative from the World Health Organisation, said available data revealed that global progress in reducing maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths had slowed over the last decade while global child mortality rates showed significant decline, however, the challenges remained the same.

Dr Asrat said in the year 2021, almost 1.9million babies were still born at 28 weeks or more of gestation with a global stillbirth rate of 13.9 stillbirths per 1000 total births.

Dr Asrat said for Ghana to attain the SDG targets, it was important for the sector to reverse the trend of the poorly performing indicators and accelerate key performing initiatives as well as strengthen service delivery in the country for the desired results.

Dr Kodjo Mensah-Aborampah, Director General of the National Development Planning Commission, said it was necessary for the health sector to move away from setting targets and take actions on the existing initiatives.

Dr Mensah-Aborampah said Ghana was struggling in the attainment of the SDGs, hence the need to influence effective policies and facilitate implementation of skills, and knowledge in achieving set targets.

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