Regular Ante-Natal Care Crucial To Fighting Maternal Deaths – Dr. Brightson
STATISTICS INDICATE that Ghana's maternal mortality rate currently stands at 540 per 100,000 live births, a trend described by concerned stakeholders as totally unacceptable.
The nation's infant mortality rate is also said to be on the increase with as many as 30 under 5 children dying monthly at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital alone.
These and many other disturbing reports have prompted the government to intervene by making maternal care free for all pregnant women across the country.
Dr. Kennedy Brightson, head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Unit of the Maamobi Polyclinic said the most effective means to achieving the country's MDGs 4 and 5 was for all women to take advantage of the government's policy by going for ante-natal care as soon as they realise they are pregnant.
He added that the number of women who access ante-natal care has tremendously increased since the implementation of the policy in July this year.
In an interview with HEALTH MATTERS, Dr. Brightson said going for ante-natal care would not only help save the lives of mothers but would go a long way to help them deliver healthy babies also.
“Pregnant women, making themselves available to the doctor for examination are always placed at a safer side as they are taken through thorough medical assessment to check their temperature levels, the status of the placenta and their unborn babies as well as work to stop the onset of any pregnancy-related complications.”
He mentioned hemorrhage (massive loss of blood), obstructed labour, placenta abruptio (the peeling off of the placenta) as well as delayed and unsupervised delivery as some of the major causes of death among pregnant women.
Dr. Brightson mentioned that when labour is unduly delayed complications set in and eventually results in the death of both mother and baby; a situation, he warned, must be prevented at all costs.
He said during the third and fourth stages of labour the pregnant woman is usually monitored closely with a partograph (a graph-like booklet used in monitoring the progress of labour) after which the pregnant woman is advised appropriately.
He said when babies are not delivered within a 42-week period, doctors are either compelled to deliver them through caesarean section or by inducing labour.
On how the Maternity Unit had fared in the fight against maternal and infant mortality, he said; “I can confidently say that the Maternity Unit of this polyclinic has not recorded any maternal deaths for the past two years because of our dedication to duty.”
The head of the unit pointed out that they would have delivered beyond expectation had there been adequate doctors, nurses and midwives.
“Though we lack adequate staff, we are doing everything humanly possible to save our women from dying from preventable causes,” he stated.
Dr. Brightson as well expressed joy at the provision of a blood bank for the unit, saying it would further help to improve their performance as far as the achievement of MDG5 is concerned.