E/R: 61 Maternal Deaths Recorded In 6 Months

Sixty-one maternal deaths have been recorded in the Eastern Region from January to June, 2017.

The number is out of 31,380 deliveries within the period.

This is an increase compared to same period 2016 which recorded 58 maternal deaths out of the 30,945 deliveries while in 2015, 52 cases of maternal deaths were recorded out of the 30,220 deliveries during the same period under review.

Details of the 2017 figure is that, VRA Kibi, community Hospital Begoro, Enyeresi, Akuse, Asamankese, Providence, Hawa, and Kade Hospitals all recorded one death each during the year under review, while Kenop, Holy Family, TQMH , Atua, Nsawam and , Assesewa Hospitals also recorded 2 maternal deaths each.

Meanwhile, New Abirim government hospital and Presby Hospital recorded three (3) maternal deaths while five (5) maternal deaths were recorded at Oda government hospital. St Dominic Hospital also recorded 8 cases of maternal deaths while the Regional Hospital recorded 20 maternal deaths (18 were referral cases).

This was revealed during the 2017 Regional Mid-Year Performance Review Meeting in Koforidua which ended Thursday.

An audit report on the maternal deaths recorded in the period under review presented by Maternal and Perinatal Mortality Audit Implementation Tracking Committee highlighted Eclampsia /Hypertensive disease in pregnancy, Hemorrhage, Amniotic fluid/pulmonary embolism, unsafe abortion, and HIV/AIDS as the top five causes of the maternal deaths.

The audit report also indicated 89% of the maternal deaths were avoidable because 53% were health worker related, while 36% were as a result of facility/administration related which included lack of ambulance, oxygen, resuscitation equipment.

47.3% of pregnant women who died during the year under review never attended antenatal care (ANC) while 52.6% attended (ANC).

The Eastern Regional Director of Ghana Health Service, Dr. Charity Sarpong described the increase in the maternal deaths in the region as unacceptable.

“We find this unacceptable since several interventions have been put in place to improve maternal health. Some of these interventions include the PICCAM strategy that was launched in 2015, demarcation of the entire region into 5 zones and with each zone being assigned an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist specialist who was to provide diverse support, also setting up a maternal and Neonatal Audit Implementation and Tracking Committee “.

The Regional Health Director stated that despite the zeal to improve healthcare delivery in the region, shortage of critical staff, especially in the rural and hard to reach areas, dilapidated and poor infrastructure, lack of ambulances for prompt referrals and inadequate funds, have been major challenges inhibiting quality and reliable healthcare.