Photo Description: Some of the medical equipment donated by Ipas.
The Western Regional Health Directorate has received medical equipment worth $48,900 from Ipas, an international Organisation headquartered in North Carolina in the USA, and with a branch in Ghana. The medical equipment targeted at reducing maternal mortality in the region will be distributed amongst ten hospitals in the region as part of the first phase of Ipas’s humanitarian service to women’s reproductive rights issues in the region.
The items donated included delivery beds, instrument trolleys, grave speculum, clinical thermometers, BP equipment, stethoscopes, revolving stools, strip stands amongst others.
Programmes Manager for Ipas Ghana, Mr. Danikuu Alexis says the organisation is committed to improving the health of women and advancing their reproductive rights. He noted that aside the donation of the medical equipment; Ipas will also offer further training to midwives and community nurses to handle delivery and pregnancy cases without much difficulty.
He says they will also be renovating some hospitals and furnish them with the necessary equipment in the next phase of the project. The organisation which has been assisting health facilities in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions, is extending support to the Western Region for the first time.
Programmes Manager for IPAS Ghana, Danikuu Alexis said although it was the primary responsibility of the Ghana Health Service to tackle health issues, it was vital for others to assist in that regard.
“Improving women reproductive health is a collective effort and Ipas Ghana is proud to be collaborating with the GHS in this effort. This is more important because, as a country, even though in our quest to achieving the MDDG 5, we are presently at 350/1000 live births, there is still more to be done. It is the hope of Ipas that this equipment, coupled with the training of the medical personnel facilitated by Ipas in the region, will go a long way to improve women reproductive health delivery and reduce maternal death in the region” he noted.
The Acting Western Regional Health Director, Dr. Kwaku Karikari, who received the items, expressed concern about increase in unsafe abortions particularly in rural areas which he says is hampering efforts at reducing maternal mortality. He also warned that Ghana could miss out on the MDG Goal 5 of reducing maternal mortality by 75%, if measures are not toughened in that regard.
With barely three years to the UN MDG deadline, Dr. Karikari says the signs are not good enough for Ghana, adding that whilst the national target is a bit far from being achieved, the Western Region’s performance is also not good enough. Although he says measures are being strengthened to reduce the trend, he is perturbed about the unsafe abortions.
“People attempt abortions with herbs and all sort of things and then when it becomes complicate they run to the hospital. It’s likely that those people facing that problem may be in some remote areas. So one of the things Ipas has supported us to do is to capacitate some nurses and midwives to handle such cases without such people having to go to the hospitals. So when we tackle the number of unsafe abortions we hope to reduce the number of deaths together with other efforts we are making in the control of maternal deaths from haemorrhage and hypertension”.
“As a region we were moving down slowly. Two years ago, we were at 1141/100,000 live births. Unfortunately last year there was with 140/100 live births. We have so many factors in maternal deaths, the community factors and the systemic factors especially with the institutions. So we can do everything at the institution level to reduce the trend but when the community factors are there, then we have to focus on that area” he noted.
Ipas is a global non-profit organization that works around the world to eliminate deaths and injuries from unsafe abortion and increase women’s ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights. Ipas’s work is grounded in the belief that women everywhere must have the opportunity to determine their futures, care for their families and manage their fertility.