The Region for the past three years recorded increases in institutional maternal mortality, but 2021 mid-year saw an increase from 17 in 2020 to 24 deaths and subsequently reduced to 15 in 2022 mid-year.
“Although we aimed at zero maternal death, we still recorded maternal deaths,” Dr Emmanuel Kofi Dzotsi, the Regional Director of the GHS, said at the 2022 half-year health performance review meeting in Bolgatanga.
The meeting attracted Municipal and District Health Directors, Medical Superintendents, officials of the Regional Health Directorate and other stakeholders in the Region and was held on the theme; “The role of quality data in improving service delivery outcomes.”
Dr Dzotsi indicated that the reduction in the deaths showed an institutional maternal mortality rate of 114.1/100,000 live births in the half year 2021 to 75.2/100,000 live births in the half year 2022.
He said the stillbirth rate also declined from 14.8 per cent in 2021 to 12.4 per cent in the 2021 half year with an improvement in tuberculosis case detection rate and treatment success from 34.4 per cent to 35.3 per cent, and 90.6 per cent to 96.1 per cent respectively.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-line of the meeting on how the Service was able to achieve the reduction in maternal deaths, Dr Dzotsi said “We met as a team to re-strategize, and the key strategy we put in place was the community line listing and follow-up on pregnant women.
“In every community, we ensured that we used the Community Health Nurses and Health Volunteers to list every pregnant woman.
“They were followed up to ensure they attended Antenatal clinics and were counselled on detection of early danger signs of pregnancy, and the need to report to the nearest health facility,” Dr Dzotsi said
He said apart from the danger signs, pregnant women were informed of their Expected Date of Delivery (EDD) through the ANC services, “So that when the EDD is approaching, and we detect that there is any danger sign, the women move closer to the hospital.”
Dr Dzotsi said with the support of the various Municipal and District Health Directors in the Region, the Community Health Nurses and Community Volunteers regularly went on monitoring visits which culminated in the reduction.
“But our aim is zero maternal death. We are hopeful that when we are able to implement the health facility factors which are also causing the maternal deaths, we are sure that we will be able to reduce it further.”
Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, at the meeting, commended the Korea International Cooperation Agency, the Swiss Red Cross Society, the Catholic Relief Services and the Northern Development Authority for the supply of tricycle ambulances to aid health service delivery in the Region.
He said the tricycles would be used to timely transport patients, especially pregnant women from remote communities to health facilities to prevent any pregnancy-related complications which could further increase the Region’s maternal deaths.
The Minister said the Regional Coordinating Council would continue to support the Regional Health Directorate to reverse all negative health indicators to positive indicators for the benefit of all residents.