The Upper East Region has recorded 24 institutional maternal mortality in the first half of 2021, being the highest in the past three years, Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service has said.
“The institutional maternal mortality in the Upper East Region has witnessed an upward trend of 24 maternal deaths representing 114.2 per 100,000 live births. This has been the highest rate the Region has recorded in the past three years,”
Dr Dzotsi said this when he addressed the 13th Scientific Conference and Biennial General Conference of the Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) held in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital.
The programme was on the theme: “Evidence from data to champion investments in midwifery; Monitor the investments for quality midwifery.”
Giving the trend of maternal deaths in the Region from 2016 to 2021 half year, the Regional Director indicated that 20 deaths were recorded in 2016, 22 in 2017, while 2018 and 2020 recorded 17 deaths respectively.
He said 2019 saw a rise from 17 in 2018 to 19 and subsequently increased to 24 deaths in the mid-year of 2021.
He urged the midwives at the conference to deliberate and come out with practical strategies to reduce maternal deaths in the Region.
He said some of the strategies included community follow-up on all pregnant women for effective home visiting and monitoring, and improving intensive emergency obstetric care, adding “There is inadequate training for midwives in the Region to provide quality care.”
He said the Region had unique challenges including; inadequate midwives, and disclosed that as of half year 2021, there were 701 midwives in the Region to take care of the about 312,652 women in their fertility age and 52,734 expected pregnancies or deliveries.
Midwifery, he noted remained one of the important elements for development, “It is one of the critical paths to promote early childhood growth and development. Failure to provide the needed quality of midwifery will have dire consequences on our communities, Districts, Region and the country at large.”
Dr Dzotsi expressed concern about the difficulty in attracting critical staff to the Region, especially Doctors, Pharmacists, Anaesthetists and midwives and said in spite of the challenge, “There is a high number of staff requesting for posting outside the Region.
“As we reviewed, we had 150 nurses requesting to leave the Region. If all these nurses leave who will man the Health Centres. We will have to adopt critical strategies to maintain some of them,” he said.
On the issue of shortage of Doctors, the Director disclosed that “Last year, we had nine Doctors, only one reported. This year, we had four Doctors and as I speak, they have not reported. Even if you call them, they don’t answer, it is a big challenge to the Region.”