Despite several measures, including stakeholders meetings, community sensitization, radio and television discussion, and the provision of training and logistics for health staff to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths, the number of such deaths is still high in Techiman.
According to Dr Damien Punguyire, Municipal Health Director for Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region, who made this known at a mid-year review meeting held in Techiman, a total of 12 maternal deaths and 104 neonatal (from 0-1 month death of a child) deaths were recorded from January 2016 to date while teenage pregnancies among girls between the ages of 10 to 14 also recorded an increase from 13 to 19.
Addressing the meeting, which was to assess the performance and examine the weaknesses and strengths of the Health Directorate to enable it strategizes for the year ahead, the Municipal Health Director, observed that since world leaders met in Geneva, the Netherlands, over 15 years ago and declared the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as developmental milestones, the eight (8) MDGs were supposed to be achieved by the end of the year 2015.
Dr Punguyire said three (3) of the goals were health-related and included reduction of child mortality, improving maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS and malaria and other diseases. He said by the end of September 2015, some progress has been made even though Ghana was unable to achieve the target on maternal and child health.
Currently, he said, Ghana had moved on to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with much higher targets which required more effort to achieve. Dr. Punguyire said in the midst of resource constraints, the strategy for ensuring achievement in the Brong Ahafo Region of the new (SDGs) was through Universal Health Coverage.
On the maternal deaths, Dr Punguyire said 12 maternal deaths had been recorded this year as compared to eight (8) last year during the same period last year and cited late referral systems from other health facilities within Techiman and other districts, poor inter-facility communications and lack of readily available ambulance when there was the need for referral as some of the causes of maternal death, adding that haemorrhage, abortion, severe anaemia and severe pre/esclamapsia were also responsible.
Other challenges, Dr Punguyire cited, included, inadequate transport facility to facilitate effective home visit and follow up cases and personnel not properly resourced with basic resources to discharge their services diligently.
On the neonatal deaths, the health Director disclosed that 104 were recorded as compared to 99 in 2015 and attributed the causes of such deaths to birth asphyxia, premature birth, early neonatal infections and neonatal jaundice.
Dr Punguyire gave the assurance that efforts were being made through teamwork, change in attitude and collaboration with stakeholders to reduce the maternal and neonatal deaths.
He advised staff to direct their efforts towards disease prevention and to change their attitudes and behaviours toward clients for quality service delivery and commended mid-wives in the Municipality for reducing still-birth by 30%.
The Municipal Health Director warned of increased to adolescent teenage pregnancies and the consequences on their health. He said apart from the stigma such girls went through, they were likely to have complications during delivery since their wombs were not developed.
He urged parents and the Education Committee of the Assembly to take measures to sensitize the public towards reducing teenage pregnancies 19 cases of which were recorded between the ages of 10 to 14 as compared to 13 in 2015.
He disclosed that 79 meningitis cases were reported and 18 deaths were recorded, and called on the public to report quickly to the nearest health facility when they experienced the symptoms of meningitis at any time.
In his remarks, Mr Phillip Oppong Amponsah, Municipal Chief Executive for Techiman, commended the health workers for their hard work and dedicated service in saving lives and preventing diseases.
Mr Amponsa promised to upgrade two CHPS compounds into Polyclinics in the Municipality. He, however, cautioned the health workers against doing politics at work and refrain from extorting money from patients/clients.
Mr Amoah Ebenezer, Chief Planning Officer of the Techiman Municipal Assembly and Chairman for the occasion, in his closing remarks, disclosed that henceforth the Assembly would include one motor bike in any CHPS compound the Assembly would build to be used by health personnel who will be posted there as a means of transport to facilitate their movements.
Dr Punguyire appealed to the Assembly to support the Health Directorate with motorbikes for community Nursing Officers to reach out to the people in their communities.
The theme for this year's Mid-year review was
Source: ISD (Imoro T. Ayibani)