Dr. Robert Mensah, a reproductive health expert at the United Nations Population Fund Population (UNFPA), has reiterated the need for more pragmatic actions to reduce maternal mortality in Ghana.
Dr Mensah said despite all efforts by stakeholders, 15 per cent of unpredictable maternal deaths could be averted if more attention was focused on family planning and service providers were well trained, coupled with adequate readiness of all health facilities to help in addressing the issues.
Dr Mensah made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tamale at the end of three days training for stakeholders on the Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) in humanitarian situations.
He said difficulties in accessing healthcare caused the three delays in maternal healthcare, namely lack of financial power, which caused families to delay in making decisions to go to a health facility, lack of readiness of health staff to meet all demands in terms of drugs and equipment to solve problems and poor roads and unavailable transport to get to the facility.
In addressing the three delays, he called for people in the communities to be trained to appreciate the need to use health facilities for deliveries and to emphasize to them that it was not all pregnancies that contributed to maternal mortality.
He urged all stakeholders to endeavour to encourage all pregnant women to deliver in a health facility.
“While about 85 per cent of deliveries are normal and do not contribute to maternal mortality, 15 per cent of all pregnancies lead to complications that cannot be predicated and prevented and therefore it is crucial that all deliveries be made in health facilities to save anyone in a critical situation,” he said.
In an earlier presentation, he said major causes of maternal deaths worldwide, occurring either during or after delivery was unsafe abortion, constituting 13 per cent, 12 per cent with eclamsia, 25 per cent over bleeding, eight per cent in cases of obstruction, and 15 per cent in sepsis cases among others.
He also drummed home the need for all communities to see the need to use health facilities especially pregnant women to deliver and added that in an unpredictable situation, any little delay could lead into serious conditions and possible death.
Responding to how the three delays could be addressed in crises situation, he indicated that emergencies could interfere with what was normal, hence flood, conflicts, earthquakes among others were situations that could magnify and aggravate situations and therefore health facilities needed to be well equipped and accessible.
He called for good coordination of MISP activities and warned that poor coordination could jeopardize any MISP intervention.
Dr Mensah urged Government to put in place implementable guidelines to avert crises and ensure proper mechanisms for proper disaster management.