Ghana not doing enough to reduce infant mortality – UNDP Ghana

It is unlikely that the 2015 target of reducing the child mortality rates will be met unless coverage of effective child survival interventions is increased, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ghana.

 A report titled ‘2010 Ghana Millennium Development July 2012 Goals Report’ noted that a large number of women die annually as a result of pregnancy related complications such as severe bleeding (hemorrhage), hypertensive diseases, infections and abortions.

Quoting from The Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) (2008) report, the UNDP said the survey showed a 30 per cent reduction in the less than five mortality rate and that this represents a decline from 111 per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 80 per 1,000 live births in 2008.

They also noted that ‘Infant mortality rate as at 2008 stood at 50 per 1,000 live births compared to 64 per 1,000 live births in 2003.’

Data from the Interagency Group Child Mortality Estimation (IGME) also quoted by the report indicates a decline in under-five mortality from 122 to 74 per 1,000 live births between 1990 and 2010 leaving a deficit of 33.

Even though, there has not been any new national health survey since 2008, the report noted, ‘the institutional maternal mortality ratio (IMMR), which measures maternal deaths occurring in health facilities and reported through the routine health management system, indicates a decline from 170 per 100,000 live births in 2009 to 164 per 100,000 live births in 2010.’

‘The 2008 Ghana Maternal Mortality Survey, however, reported a maternal mortality rate of 451 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births which was the average of the seven years proceeding the survey period.’ According to the report, supervised delivery, which is critical for safe motherhood, remains low in Ghana. The report noted that ‘in Ghana, three quarters of all maternal deaths occur during birth and the immediate post-partum period.

‘Skilled birth attendance (SBA) or supervised delivery does not only remain low in Ghana, but also a significant equity gap exists across regions and within regions – urban and rural disparities.’

According to the report, while 62 per cent of births were reported to occur in rural areas, less than half of births (43%) were assisted by SBA in rural areas, as against the national average of approximately 57 per cent of births.

With regard to regional variations, the report said the utilization of SBA ranged from a high of 84 per cent in the Greater Accra region to a low of 27 per cent in the Northern areas.

These disparities among the regions have worsened as recent data on supervised delivery from the 2010 Ghana Health Sector Review report indicates.

According to the report, the previous 4 years’ positive trend was reversed and the equity indicator for supervised deliveries worsened significantly, indicating a widened gap between the regions with the highest and the lowest performance.

Six of Ghana’s ten regions improved coverage of supervised delivery, but four regions experienced negative trends. While Western Region, Eastern Region, and Greater Accra Region experienced minor decreases, Volta Region reduced coverage by over 15 per cent.


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