Adequate supervision of Birth Attendants will increase maternal, newborn survival – Dr. Aboagye

A Deputy Director of the Family Health Division and head of the Reproductive and Child Health Department of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Aboagye, has urged skilled birth attendants across the country to adequately supervise their non-specialist colleagues to increase maternal and newborn survival.

Dr. Aboagye made the call at the opening of a four-day workshop for Obstetricians, Pediatricians and Midwives held at the Marina Hotel in Dodowa.

The workshop, organized by the Evidence for Action (E4A) project also known as MamaYe, was to equip selected members form the Maternal and Newborn Health Professional Societies in the country with the skills to efficiently supervise the junior colleagues as part of efforts to improve maternal and newborn health in the country.

He said: “Through the work we do, we are saving lives and our experiences must be shared by adequate supervision. Without proper supervision, quality of care will be low because health workers’ output may not be up to the standard required to save lives.”

Prof. Richard Adanu, Country Director of the E4A project said, healthcare professionals must strive to apply interventions that improve maternal and newborn health.

He revealed that the recently revised statistics released by the Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group puts Ghana’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) at 380 per 100,000 live births, a situation he described as “dire despite the improvement over the years.”

“While it is important to churn out many skilled birth attendants to improve the patient-to-SBA ratio, it is equally important to supervise the work of those who are on the job and require guidance.” Prof. Adanu said, adding: “We know how crucial it is for pregnant women to have access to skilled delivery.”

He indicated that a skilled birth attendant who is well supervised will be prepared to treat most obstetric or newborn-related complications that could lead to preventable deaths of the woman or the baby.

Dr. Sylvia Deganus, an Obstetrician/Gaenecologist with the Tema General Hospital and the Maternal Health Advisor for the E4A project said health officials working in maternal and newborn health must be concerned about supervision because “improved supervision leads to improved provider performance and, thus, quality of care.”

She said if the supervisory processes are undertaken well, the senior officials will identify gaps that must be addressed to ensure that quality of care is assured for all pregnant women and their babies.

The participants who came from the Upper West, Greater Accra, Ashanti and Volta regions were taken through rigorous sessions on listening and coaching skills. They were introduced to training materials and resources that are meant to sharpen their skills and to improve the supervisory roles they play in their respective facilities. Participants from the workshop were organized into teams which would start supervisory activities in the Upper West and Greater Accra Regions.

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