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Infant & maternal mortality rate on the increase in N/R

2009-07-24 19:56:22
This article has been read 868 times.

The East Gonja District Directorate of the Ghana Health Services has introduced a new strategy to fight against the high rate of infant and maternal mortalities in the area.

At the moment, the Health Directorate in the district, with support from UNICEF, has trained and equipped 409 volunteers to undertake some basic health responsibilities in the various communities in the district, to mitigate the mortalities.

The Ghana Health Service and UNICEF spent a total of GH¢80,000 to train and procure the 409 brand new bicycles, their accessories, drugs, 409 Wellington boots, raincoats, torchlights, kit boxes and hand gloves for the volunteers.

The 409 volunteers are expected to identify symptoms of sicknesses, and give early treatment.

They would also identify all pregnant women, register them, and educate them, or refer them to the various health centres for antenatal education.

At a ceremony to hand over the 409 new bicycles to the volunteers at the Kpaliba Health Centre, the East Gonja District Director of Health Services, Dr. James Sarkodie, disclosed that over 74 children, from a day old to eleven months, died in the district in 2008 alone.

According to him, about 80 per cent of the infant and maternal death cases were not reported to the health centres, due to the influx of traditional birth attendants.

It is believed that the Northern Region has the highest cases of infant and maternal deaths in Ghana, with as high as 120 children dying out of every 1,000 births in the region.

Dr. James Sarkodie was however optimistic that the volunteers would work hard to enable the people, who previously had to travel far distances before accessing healthcare, get early treatment at their doorsteps.

He therefore cautioned them to be circumspect and tactical in their work.

The District Public Health Nurse, Mrs. Agnes Atogiba, said poor access roads and lack of ambulances to convey expectant mothers to the hospitals, caused unnecessary delays, leading to birth complications.

She advised pregnant women to start visiting antenatal after three months of pregnancy, to enable doctors correct any potential anomalies associated with their pregnancies.

The District Chief Executive (DCE) for East Gonja, Alhassan Mumuni, who presented the bicycles to the volunteers, urged them to show commitment and diligence towards the programme.

He was confident that the trend of infant mortality would be reversed completely, if the children get early treatment before they get to the health centres.

The DCE therefore cautioned the volunteers to make judicious use of the bicycles and other logistics, but not to sell them to enrich themselves.

Alhassan Mumuni, who commended UNICEF for the support, said the programmes was in line with the government’s malaria control programmes, which are geared towards preventing infant deaths from malaria infections.

He warned the volunteers not to pose as professional doctors and prescribe certain medications that are beyond their abilities, to avoid causing more deaths in the district.

The DCE however unveiled the plans of the assembly to renovate some of the dilapidated health centres, and also construct new ones, to enhance health delivery in the area.


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