14th July 2024

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, says the government is committed to continuing to scale up proven interventions to ultimately reduce maternal mortality rate.

He said such interventions would enhance access to skilled birth attendants and ensure comprehensive antenatal and postnatal care for all women.

Speaking at the fourth National Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) Conference 2023 in Accra, he said the Ministry would also continue to improve health care infrastructure, training and posting of healthcare professionals and advocacy on maternal health issues to ensure that significant strides were made towards safe and positive birth experiences for every mother.

The Minister said that child health, nutrition, and reduction of maternal and child mortality remained a top priority for the government, saying modest gains had been made in the last two decades.

“Maternal Health as we may know is at the heart of our efforts, as we recognise the fundamental right of every woman to access quality and equitable healthcare during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period,” he said.

Priority interventions

Taking his turn, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said the implementation of priority interventions and services targeted at reducing mortality and morbidity among mothers and children had faced some challenges.

According to him, “these are evident in the rate of pregnancy-related deaths of women, which is in sharp contrast to the gains made in maternal, child health and nutrition.”

“The prevailing stagnating situations in some of our health care efforts such as the anaemia in women and children and the slow pace in the reduction of neonatal mortality rate, which undermines the progress towards the achievement of the health-related SDG targets as well as stunting and wasting amongst children under five remain high with wide regional disparities,” he noted.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said other threats to improved health outcomes were the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and the triple burden of malnutrition, including overweight, undernutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies.

Data

Dr Sofonias Asrat, a Representative from the World Health Organisation (WHO), said available data revealed that global progress in reducing maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths had slowed over the last decade while global child mortality rates showed a significant decline, however, the challenges remained the same.

Dr Asrat said in the year 2021, almost 1.9 million babies were stillborn at 28 weeks or more of gestation with a global stillbirth rate of 13.9 stillbirths per 1000 total births.

For Ghana to attain the SDG targets, the WHO Rep said it was important for the sector to reverse the trend of the poorly performing indicators and accelerate key performing initiatives as well as strengthen service delivery in the country for the desired results.

Dr Kodjo Mensah-Aborampah, Director General of the National Development Planning Commission, said the health sector needed to move away from setting targets and take action on the existing initiatives.

In his view, Ghana is struggling to attain the sustainable development goals (SDGs), hence, the need to influence effective policies and facilitate implementation of skills, and knowledge in achieving set targets.

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