Health Director bemoans high institutional maternal mortality

Dr Kofi Issah

A 2-day maiden regional conference on health under the auspices of the Presbyterian Health Services-North, PHS-N, had been climaxed in Bolgatanga with calls for sustainable and innovative approaches to tackling the complexities of health systems.

Addressing participants, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Kofi Issah disclosed that efforts at achieving the targets set out in the SDGs require sustainable strategies instead of short-fighting approaches.

Using the health sector of the region as a case study, Dr Issah expressed regret that despite improvements in maternal health outcomes, the region last year recorded institutional maternal mortality ratio of 108 per 100,000 live births, a situation he bemoaned as unacceptable.

According to him, indicators for the half year of 2017 shows a steady rise in the number of deaths over the same period last year.

Dr Issah, however, challenged stakeholders in health to work in partnership and complement each other’s effort to improve the reproductive health of the populace. He further implored them to educate the public on issues of child preparedness and complication readiness plans so that pregnancy and child birth would be a happy experience.

Touching on the Sustainable Development Goal 3 which clearly emphasizes on good health and wellbeing, Dr Issah underscored the need for all to fight hunger and starvation as poor nutrition contributes greatly to maternal and infant mortality especially during the first 1000 days of life.

The maiden regional conference on health which is a joint initiative of the Regional Health Directorate and the PHS-N was therefore intended to foster stronger collaboration among health service delivery actors and also lay a foundation for health development partners who may have varied interest for complementing health financing in the region.

The conference among other objectives was to build synergies among regional level stakeholders in finding appropriate means to addressing critical barriers to maternal health at the community level.

This is a follow up of earlier successful engagements held in three selected districts of the region under a project dubbed: ‘Maternal Health Accountability Programme’ MEHAP.

With funding by the EU and CBM, an International Christian Organization, MEHAP intervention is targeted at contributing to improved public responsiveness to maternal health in the said districts, namely Builsa North, Binduri and Pusiga.

In a brief remark, the CBM Project Coordinator, John Alo said the implementation of MEHAP is geared towards achieving accelerated improvements in socially inclusive maternal health services as captured in the SDG3.

He said though a lot had been achieved through the intervention, there was still room for improvement as access to health care remained a challenge.

Mr Alo appealed to interested partners to facilitate dialogue and partner government and other institutions to build a vibrant health care system in the region.

In a keynote address, the Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, Frank Fuseini acknowledged the collaborative effort between government and the CSOs in health and challenged the CSOs to use their expertise to influence a policy change at the national level to raise the health status of the people.

He said government is committed to put the right policies and structures in place to give the health sector a major boost.

The maiden conference which brought together key stakeholders in health including ministers and programme managers of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana among officials from the GHS headquarters was held under the theme: ‘Strengthening Governance, Citizen Responsiveness and Inclusive Health Care-A Sustainable Approach to Achieving Health Related SDGs in Northern Ghana’.