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Maternal Deaths: Gushegu Winning ‘War’   
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The Gushegu District Health Directorate is gradually winning the war against maternal death in the area, Alhaji Abdul Rahman Yakubu, the District Director of Health has said.

He said for the first time in many years the directorate had reduced maternal mortality rate from seven in 2011 and 2012 to four in 2013.

Alhaji Yakubu told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Gushegu that the directorate, together with its partners, especially the Northern Sector Action on Awareness (NORSAAC), is gradually breaking the myth among men that pregnancy and child bearing are the sole responsibility of women.

He explained that the stakeholders identified a lot of challenges, including poor infrastructure, inadequate personnel and negative attitudes that call for urgent attention.

Alhaji Yakubu said: “We tried to constantly orient men who are responsible fathers and let them know responsibility is when you impregnate a woman you support her throughout the pregnancy to child training,” he said.

He said a pregnancy school had been established in many communities in the district, where couples are being educated and guided to develop a birth plan regarding the health facility a woman would like to deliver.

“By this plan they can suggest by what means the woman will be transported to the health facility when she is due for delivery. To prevent delays and complications, we advise pregnant women living in far communities to live close to town.

“They get to know the items they will need during delivery and also prepare adequately.”

Alhaji Yakubu said a Maternal Male Champions Club has been instituted in most communities in the district, where elderly men coach young fathers on how to effectively play paternal roles efficiently to ensure the survival and protection of babies and their mothers.

“We realised that most men become fathers by default so this club is made up of experienced men to mentor the young men to play their expected roles,” he emphasised.

Mr Abukari Anass Neindow, a NORSAAC Field Officer, told GNA in an interview that through STAR Ghana, a multi-donor-pooled agency, members had supported the directorate, which recorded an increase in institutional deliveries.

“Aside the various capacity building organised for the assemblies, traditional and religious leaders on maternal health issues, NORSAAC has created an advocacy working group including community health teams, women’s groups, maternal male champions club at the community and district level,” he said.

Mr Neindow explained that through the collaborative effort of the health directorate most traditional birth attendants (TBAs) have resolved not to help any pregnant woman who fails to patronise antenatal services.

“The TBAs in many of the communities have on several occasions refused to attend to recalcitrant pregnant women and this has served as a check for the women to periodically attend antenatal,” he added.
Source: GNA

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