Dr John Bertson Eleeza, the Ho Municipal Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has suggested that politicians should attend strategy formulation meetings, workshops and forums that discuss ways of tackling crucial issues such as maternal health.
He said in that way they (politicians) would get the feel of the problems better and therefore the verve to push for solutions.
Dr Eleeza was delivering a paper on “Improving Maternal Health, the Case of the Ho Municipality” at a Public Dialogue on Maternal Health in Ho.
It was organized by the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) in conjunction with the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) Campaign Coalition.
Political office holders, staff of the Municipal and District assemblies and assembly members were absent from the forum that was attended by doctors, nurses, social workers, representatives of faith groups and Civil Society Organizations and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).
Dr Eleeza said politicians were the ones who made policies designed to solve problems of the people and must therefore be with the people while they talked and grieve about those problems.
He said tackling maternal health was a multifaceted one that also required stakeholders such as vehicle operators who would take emergencies to health facilities and owners of pharmaceutical shops who must know how to store important drugs to keep them potent.
Dr Eleeza said there were 49 pregnancy related deaths between 2006 and 2008 out of 8,782 deliveries in health institutions in the Ho Municipality.
He listed the causes as infection, anaemia, unsafe abortions, and ignorance.
Dr Eleeza slammed the practice where a woman in difficult labour as a result of obstruction due to babies bad positioning is taken as an adulterous wife and left to die or taken to hospital at the last hour.
On ways of improving maternal health Dr Eleeza called for improvement in antenatal care and a change in attitude of nurses.
Dr Eric Yao Amakpa, Gynaecologist at the Volta Regional Hospital, said it was wrong for nurses to insist that folders of women in labour were found at the registry before starting treatment.
He called for infrastructure and equipment beef-up and training of more health professionals to tackle maternal health.
Rev Albert Kwabi, a director at the Christian Council of Ghana, said it was scandalous for women to “lose their lives when giving life”.
He said Ghana had the task of achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing maternal deaths from around 451 deaths per 100,000 births in 2007 to 54 per in 2015.
Ms Kyerewah Asamoah, Programme of the Ghana MDGs/GCAP Campaign Coalition said the Coalition had fashioned out advocacy measures to hold government to meeting needs of the people.
She said it was not enough for government to announce free antenatal care, but must also provide or facilitate the provision of the inputs, human resource, managerial and technical skills to ensure goals set in that area were met.
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