37 maternal deaths were recorded in the Upper East Region in 2016, according to the regional health directorate.
The region recorded 37 maternal deaths in 2011, 38 deaths in 2012, and 34 in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, the region recorded 47 and 30 maternal deaths respectively.
Even though the maternal mortality ratio stands at 110.9 per 100,000 live births, an improvement over 2015, the regional directorate is worried about the fluctuating maternal deaths in the region since 2010.
This was disclosed at the 2016 annual performance review meeting held in Bolgatanga on the theme: “Harnessing human resources for effective leadership and service delivery, with focus on newborn care and sub-district health systems”.
The Upper East Regional director of the Health Services, Dr. Kofi Issah, attributed the cause of the maternal mortality to Postpartum Haemorrhage, Anemia, Sepsis and unsafe abortion among others.
“But once a mother dies, it’s a whole system issue and the end is what happens at the hospitals. For instance, you find women in this region having poor nutritional status, which predisposes them to problems when they get pregnant. You find out that the issues lay outside of our purview, it has to do with household income, it has to do with agric, it has to do with household utilization and so on.”
He said “the causes of maternal mortality have gone beyond the traditional causes of maternal deaths, to socio-economic factors, if you watch women of high education and economic status, they would not have died unless there is something very underlining in pregnancy. So reproductive health education is key to reducing maternal mortality” he said.
“…what are the emergency systems? You are in the village and all of a sudden you are in labor, and the last market car has gone what do you?. There is also the issue of bad road network in parts of the region. So it is our ability to react when there are pregnancy complications for the systems to mobilize, community, government, health systems to save more lives.”
Dr. Issah urged pregnant women to seek early antenatal care during pregnancy to avoid high risk of complications during delivery.
The region also recorded a stillbirth rate of 1.6 percent, an increase over 2015 rate of 1.5 percent.
A total of 7,745 cases of malaria in pregnancy were recorded, and 20 HIV positive mothers were also recorded in 2016.
By: Frederick Awuni/citifmonline.com/Ghana