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Pregnant Women Queue Daily   
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Ghana’s quest to reduce infant and maternal mortality in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals could be greatly compromised if immediate steps are not taken to address the lack of logistics and staff in maternity facilities in the country.

Hundreds of the pregnant women continue to queue daily for care at health facilities with limited staff and inadequate logistics.

Newsmen who visited the Ridge Hospital's Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department said conditions there were worrying. The centre has been in and out of the news recently following allegations of negligence in its maternity unit. But a closer look reveals the department is facing serious staff challenges and space constraints. The Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of the Ridge Hospital comprises four units, namely the antenatal unit, the female ward, the labour ward and the postnatal unit. Of the four, the antenatal and labour wards are the busiest. Upon entering the antenatal unit, one is confronted by rows of women in various stages of pregnancy.

Last May alone, the unit received more than one thousand and two hundred antenatal outpatients. The labour ward is also busy, handling an average of thirty-five deliveries daily. Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyo is the head of the department and says staff and the facilities at the gynaecology ward are over-stretched. Dr. Srofenyo believes more pregnant women are going to Ridge because of a new pain management technique, which is being pioneered at the hospital. This, coupled with the free medical care for pregnant women has driven a lot of them to Ridge and this has inevitably put a strain on the hospital’s personnel and facilities. The department has only two specialist obstetrician gynaecologists, a few resident doctors who are posted to the unit for their rotation, and sixteen midwives.

The Senior Nursing Officer, Rebecca Fofo Larkai, explaining the staff situation at the unit said more medical staff are needed to save lives. The patients take up every available space at the gynaecology department of Ridge and benches have been turned into makeshift beds. Dr. Srofenyo says within these constraints staff always strives to make sure that quality of care is not compromised.

The situation at Ridge is not very different from what pertains in other maternity wards in hospitals around the country. It points to an urgent need for the health authorities do more to equip and staff the maternity wards as efforts are made to reduce maternal and infant mortality to the barest minimum.
Source: myjoyonline

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