Ghana has recorded 4,315 maternal deaths over the past five years, available statistics from the Center for Health Information Management of the Ghana Health Service reveals.
According to the figures, the country recorded the highest deaths of 947 in 2022, 875 deaths in 2021, 779 deaths in 2020, 838 deaths in 2019, and 876 deaths in 2018.
As countries around the globe do more to achieve the set target for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Three (SDGs 3.1), the disturbing figures are indications the nation ought to do more.
The UN global goal three of good health and wellbeing pushes nations to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.
Just about seven years to go, Mrs Abigail Antwi-Baafi, the Executive Director of the Reproductive Needs and Fitness (RENEF) foundation who disclosed the figures said concerted efforts were required from everybody, putting the country on the edge to achieve the set target for the global goal three.
Established in 2016, the RENEF is a Sunyani-based non-governmental organization that seeks to find possible solutions to public health challenges through advocacies, support services, public and health education and health promotion.
It does this by employing effective public health strategies and diversified approaches that equip people with practical knowledge to enable them make well-informed decisions with regards to their health and wellbeing.
Addressing a news conference in Sunyani to highlight the activities of the foundation, Mrs Antwi-Baafi, a health professional described the recorded cases of maternal mortality as quite disturbing which needed to be urgently addressed.
“Issues of neonatal mortality in Ghana are no exception since the past five years (2018- 2022) have recorded not less than 5000 neonatal deaths annually” she stated.
It is in this regard that she added the RENEF had launched a campaign that sought to intensify nationwide public sensitization on maternal and child health care delivery.
Dubbed “Improve Maternal and Child Health Care (#IMCHC campaign)”, the campaign according to Mrs Antwi-Baafi was part of the foundation’s “Miss Nightingale initiative” which focused on malnutrition, anaemia, hygiene as well as Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS and Maternal and Child Mortality.
“RENEF Foundation in the years ahead is poised to do its best in support of maternal and child health care delivery services in Ghana to bring the alarming cases of maternal and neonatal mortality under control”, she said.
Mrs Antwi-Baafi however, regretted that despite the foundation commitment to help the nation tackled her surging cases of maternal deaths through its school and reproductive health campaign for the adolescent, the “National Midwifery Council (NMC) seems sabotaging our campaign”, though the foundation had the support of the Ghana Education Service and Ghana Health service.
“Currently we are rebranding the Miss Elegance to MISS NIGHTINGALE, a beauty pageant among Nursing and Midwifery students from both Training Colleges and Universities as a means of creating awareness on Gender-based violence and Maternal and Child health”, she said.
However, “we have been made aware of a circular by the NMC which subtly seeks to cast a bad light on our image and core purpose and this we, with the greatest of respect, deem to be very unfortunate.
The narrative out there seeks to project the content of pageantry with the circles of the Nursing Students as a novel act created by our organization which is actually not the truth. As an organization, we only took interest in the already existing Miss Nightingale pageant only as a means of addressing the disturbing issues of maternal and child health and nothing more”.
“To all who may have been misinformed about the circular issued by the NMC, we crave your independent minds to have a look at the content of the Miss Nightingale which shows every Sunday at 3pm so as to make your independent opinion about the same.
We dare say that our content does not in any way cast the NMC and for that matter any nurse in any bad light”, Mrs Antwi-Baafi and called for support from donors, both local and international as well as corporate bodies and NGOs.
Such support is required to well position us, as we worked hard to help the nation bring her cases of maternal deaths to the barest minimum and also to achieve the global goal three too, she added.