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Booze to Blame For High Mortality

2008-02-26 17:56:50
This article has been read 732 times.

The high maternal and juvenile mortality in the Upper West Region is the result of incessant alcohol abuse among expectant mothers, the Regional Director of health, Dr Erasmus Agongo, has said.

He said it was ironic that as higher levels of skilled deliveries were being attained at the various health facilities in the region, more deaths were being recorded.

“Alcoholism is causing high maternal and under-five mortality in this region.

This is because more women in the region are drinking higher volumes of alcohol and more frequently than the men,” he stressed.

Dr Agongo, who was giving an overview of activities of the health sector in the region when he addressed a three-day regional health review and the inauguration of regional and district health committees in Wa, said although accelerated child survival and maternal mortality reduction were some of the major priorities of the sector last year, as many as 30 maternal deaths were recorded.

That, he said, was higher than the 24 maternal deaths recorded in 2006 and the 21 recorded in 2005.

He described the situation as worrying and said one of the main priorities for this year was to embark on a vigorous campaign against alcoholism.

He was delighted, however, that the region had responded positively to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which he said had covered 57 per cent of the people, and attributed the increase in OPD attendance from 290 patients to 446 last year to the increased access people now had to health care under the NHIS.

He further stressed the need to scale up the construction of more facilities to make health care easily accessible to more people in the region.

Touching on the cases of guinea worm and the imminent outbreak of meningitis, the health director said his outfit would remain vigilant to detect any case early enough and intervene through mass immunisation.

He described as unacceptable, the position of the country with respect to guinea worm infections in the world and pointed out that the region had been able to reduce the infections from 333 cases in 2005 to 23 last year.

He, therefore, urged the health staff to work conscientiously to completely wipe out guinea worm from the region.

Dr Agongo said all the six government hospitals in the region had been equipped to treat HIV cases but expressed concern about the human resource situation in the health sector and said most midwives in the region were ageing.

The Upper West Regional Minister, Mr George Hickah Benson, commended health personnel in the region for their hard work and said the government was determined to ensure a viable and effective health delivery system across the country.

Mr Benson applauded the various development partners such as JICA, UNICEF and UNFPA for their unyielding support to the health sector in the region and urged them to assist in the provision of more structures like theatres and blood transfusion facilities.

The regional minister also emphasised the need for the health personnel to work harder to minimise infant and maternal mortality, as well as HIV/AIDS infections in the region.


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