Health authorities in the Upper West Region seem to be failing in their efforts to reduce maternal deaths with a record of 11 deaths within the half year of 2012.

Nine of the women were referred from other districts, but died at the regional hospital.

Dr Kofi Issah, Deputy Upper West Regional Director of Health Service, said more work was to be done in spite of the drop in the stillbirth rate to 2.2%  as against 3% in 2011.

He said there was the need to develop strategies to help the hospital to avert more deaths.

Emergency care services needed to be a priority as only two out of six hospitals have designated emergency wards, Dr. Issah said at the 2011 Upper West Regional Health Performance Review in Wa on Thursday.

Dr Issah said the Region received 167 nurses to help improve healthcare service but felt short of critical personnel such as midwives with a gap of 93 midwives and 51 medical assistants to be filled at health centres.

The region at present has 54 midwives and 17 medical assistants and two out of four medical officers posted to the region reported for duty.

The Cuban Medical Brigade was helping in providing valuable clinical services to the people at health facilities in the Region.

He said governance systems in the sector had been facing challenges with health committees and boards being non-functional and suggested the engagement of more active non- governmental organisations in health, communities and other stakeholders to reverse the trend.

Dr Issah said all sectors in the health service had been tasked to draw plans under the Millennium Development Goal Acceleration Framework, with focuses on implementing family planning, skilled delivery and emergency care services to help improve and achieve targets set by the Millennium Development Goals.

He said two new vaccines had been introduced this year to help improve child mortality and that the vaccines had not recorded any refusals.

Dr Issah said nutrition surveillance carried out in June showed that acute malnutrition was worse in children less than two years and called for appropriate complementary feeding practices to improve the situation.

The community based management of acute malnutrition programme supported by UNICEF in six districts had made progress this year with a cure rate of 91.25 per cent and a defaulter rate of 6.25 per cent as compared to the standard of 75 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

On surveillance of diseases, Dr Issah said six districts had reported no suspected cases for acute flaccid paralysis, two districts reported cases of measles and four also recorded yellow fever cases.

That, he said, was a worrying situation and the authorities were taking measures to beef up the facility and community based surveillance systems in those districts.

?HIV/AIDS have a low uptake for ?know your status? and equally worrying is the low tuberculosis cases detection and high death rates,? Dr Issah explained.

Source: GNA

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