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Out of 100,000 pregnant women who gave birth (live births) in Ghana between 2011 and last year, 310 died over the period, results of the 2017 Ghana Maternal Health Survey(GMHS) report launched here on Thursday indicated.

Although this is an improvement relative to the average of 451 deaths per 100,000 live births 10 years ago, acting Government Statistician Baah Wadieh urged the country to work harder to achieve the targets set for 2030.

“The survey provides a new estimate for an important indicator – the maternal mortality ratio. According to the 2017 GMHS, the maternal mortality ratio is 310 deaths per 100,000 live births during the seven years prior to the survey,” Wadieh disclosed.

He added; “It is worth the Ministry of Health Operational plan aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to 203 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. This is a clarion call to Ghana to prioritize maternal health care in order to meet the target.”

Presenting the report, Peter Takyi Peprah, head of field operations and coordinator for the Maternal Health Survey at the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), listed the causes of maternal deaths as infectious and parasitic diseases, bleeding during pregnancy and delivery, followed by hypertensive disorders.

As the absence of health facilities have been identified as a major cause of maternal and infant mortalities, government has been making strenuous efforts to bring health care close to communities through the provision of hospitals, polyclinics, clinics and Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds in addition to free maternal care across the country.

Gloria Quansah Asare, Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Health Services (GHS), conceded there was much more work to do to eliminate or reduce maternal mortality.

Although the report is not wholly what the country expects, the official said the progress was worthwhile as one cannot achieve all targets suddenly with a single step.

“At least, we have made progress. I am not saying we are happy that 310 women per 100,000 live births are dying, but we have come from 451, 10 years ago. We did not attain the Millennium Development Goals,” she stated “Well it is a bit slow. It is slow, but that is where we are now as a country,” she added.

As to whether the pace of development was not too slow Dr. Asare argued that survey results always contained mixed results.

“We are taking all in good faith as a health service and as a ministry of health and with all out partners. Not just the health sector. We should all deliberate on these figures seriously and work hard,” she added. Enditem

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