Completion of hospital projects critical to addressing maternal mortality in Ashanti -Dr Tinkorang

The operationalisation of ongoing hospital projects in the Ashanti Region will significantly improve the maternal mortality situation, Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang, the Regional Director of Health Services, has said.

The region currently had no intermediary as all emergency obstetric complications were seen at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) with most of the referrals coming in too late, he noted.

‘When we are able to get the Afari Military Hospital and the Regional Hospital at Sewua completed, we are going to have an additional 790 beds to support women so that they can have better access to emergency obstetric care,’ he told stakeholders at the 2023 annual performance review meeting in Kumasi.

The institutional maternal mortality in the region increased from 134 per 100,000 live births in 2022 to 167 per 100,000 live births in 2023 with Postpartum Hemorrhage and complications of pregnancy-induced hypertension being some of the major causes.

Also seeing a marginal increase was the stillbirth rate, whi
ch increased from 11.0 per 1,000 live births in 2022 to 11.1 per 1,000 live births during the year under review.

Institutional Neonatal Mortality, however, improved significantly from eight per 1,000 live births in 2022 to five per 1,000 live births in 2023.

Dr. Tinkorang said the region with a population of about 5.6 million, was too huge to rely solely on KATH for such emergencies, underlying the limited health infrastructure there.

‘We are looking forward to the operationalisation of all the ongoing hospital projects and you can see for the past five years the Government is doing its best to increase the number of hospitals in the region,’ Dr Tinkorang noted.

The Regional Hospital, he said, was only left with the construction of the access road and called on the Government to expedite work to improve healthcare delivery.

He said the ongoing projects were very dear to the Ashanti Region because, without them, it would be difficult to control maternal mortality as most of the existing facilities were in
capable of addressing those issues.

Dr. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, Director of Public Health at Ghana Health Service (GHS), said Ghana had less than seven years to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and asked what could be done differently to achieve the target.

‘As a country, we are still at two per cent coverage and that is not good enough. Can we achieve eight per cent over the next three years? That is the challenge we are confronted with,’ he said.

He reminded staff of the Service and all stakeholders that deliberate efforts must be made to be able to achieve the target by 2030.

He expressed concern over staff attrition across the country, adding that the GHS was working closely with the Ministry of Health to fill the gaps while taking steps to ensure better conditions of service for those who took up appointments in less endowed areas.

‘I shall take this opportunity to remind facility managers to put in mechanisms to rotate staff so that those who pick up appointments in these hard-to-reach areas
are not left there forever.’

The meeting, attended by stakeholders drawn from all 43 districts of the region, was on the theme: ‘Accelerating Progress Towards Universal Health Coverage: Strengthening Primary Health Care through Network of Practice.’

Source: Ghana News Agency