A mother holding her newborn baby
Ghana has fallen to a ranking of 150 out of 178 in terms of safest countries for maternal and infant survival, making Ghana one of the 30 most dangerous countries for childbirth in the world.
The findings, released by Save the Children, an international NGO aimed at providing ‘a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm’ for children worldwide, were announced on Wednesday, March 7, 2014.
The report estimated that 800 mothers and 18,000 children die from preventable causes around the world each day. This coincides with the maternal death rate in Ghana, which is 350 per 100,000 live births and infant mortality, which is almost 40 in every 100 babies, not including those stillborn.
The study stated that one of the major factors contributing to infant mortality was the lack of ready facilities for labour and childcare, forcing the mothers to give birth in ‘fragile settings’ and endanger both the mother’s and child’s life.
For this reason, all but one of the bottom 10 countries on the list is in West or Central Africa, as high risk of inner conflict and natural disasters greatly decrease the chances for mother and child survival.
This points to a larger issue, mainly the political instability of West and Central African countries and the general inaccessibility of basic health care in these countries.
‘This is an increasing problem in key regions of the world,’ the report said, adding that while child death rates in Africa used to count for 16 percent of the worldwide statistic, now ‘almost a third of the global toll of child deaths are found in that sub-region in countries with weak states and complex development challenges.’ The report claimed that maternal and infant safety was the responsibility of national governments, donor countries, international agencies, the private sector and civil society.
Accordingly, the report called for a collective effort by all countries to provide better health care at every stage of life for mothers and children, ‘putting them at the centre of national and international processes and ensuring that the necessary investments are made in their resilience, health and protection.’
By Stephanie F. Miles
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