A total of 42 pregnant women lost their lives in the year 2021 in the Volta Region, Dr. Timothy Letsa, Volta Regional Director of Health Services, has said.
He said the events were “unacceptable”, adding it dented commendable improvement in service indicators recorded during the period.
Dr. Letsa was addressing the opening of the 2021 Volta Region Annual Health Sector Performance Review Conference in Ho on Wednesday.
“Although we are performing above the national targets for institutional maternal mortality ratio, neonatal mortality rate and stillbirth rate, the trend analysis shows that we have stagnated.
“Forty-two women losing their lives from pregnancy related illnesses in one year is still unbearable. A consistent multi stakeholder approach is required to further push down these mortalitiesm” the Regional Director stated.
He, however, commended staff of the Service for moving the Region from a “moderately performing” to a “highly performing” status and said cross-sectoral collaboration would be strengthened in maintaining the gains.
Data from the Service said institutional maternal mortality ratio for 2021 was at 102.5 as against a target of 125 per 100,000, while institutional neonatal mortality rate stood at 6.6 against a target of 8 per 1000.
Still Birth rate was at 9.8 per cent, lower than the Health Service’s target of 12 per cent for the year.
Dr Senanau Kwasi Dzokoto, Deputy Director of Health Services, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA), that the mortalities had risen sharply from the 35 recorded in 2020.
He said the region had lost 46 pregnant women in 2019, and that although the current rate could pass for an improvement considering population growth, the Health Directorate had committed to tackling the situation head on.
He said several factors continued to inhibit safe maternal journeys and listed the health-seeking attitude of would-be mothers, nutrition, access to health facilities, and the quality of clinical, all which would become the focus of the Service in arresting the situation.
“We want to drive it downwards further. It is going to require a multi-sectorial approach that deals with maternal mortality. Because if you look at the factors, it begins from when they even take the decision at home to even go to the hospital.
“It begins from what the woman even eats before she gets pregnant, and the decision to move to the hospital from the house, can also be hampered by transport,” he said, describing bad roads and difficulty in accessing vehicles in some areas.
Dr. Dzokoto also mentioned hospital factors, which he said included response in time during emergencies.
“So, we are approaching it from all levels; vigilance at our health facilities to make sure that there are no hospital factors contributing to any mortalities, and then educating the populace, making sure our women during the reproductive stage, eat well.
“We will also introduce focused ANCs, where every midwife will focus on a particular pregnant woman, and they can engage them at any point in time if they have any needs.
“When you are performing above the national average, you have to push yourself to be able to do better,” he added.
The Volta Region had scored a 4.0 on a performance scale that peaks at 5, and which assesses a total of 83 indicators, and four key milestones.
The Region scored a 3.6 in 2020, and the Regional Director of Health Services reported progress in several areas, saying, “all key milestones have been achieved with distinction”.
Vaccination against covid in the Region, nonetheless, has a shortage of about 500,000 people, and the three-day review, which is on the theme: “Achieving Universal Health Coverage in the Midst of the Covid 19 Pandemic: The Role of Effective and Innovative Leadership”, would bring together stakeholders, including traditional leaders to deliberate on breaking vaccine hesitancy.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, listed several interventions aimed at elevating health service delivery in the Region, including a coming oxygen plant and distribution of ICUs across the Region.
He also stated the resourcing of the Regional Medical Stores, investments in improving laboratory installations at the borders and the facilitation of the vaccination drive with dedicated equipment.