The Northern region recorded a total of 87,765 in deliveries in 2013 across the various health facilities of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), out of which 1,278 were still-births.
Some 492 of the survived deliveries died under age one, while the first quarter of 2014 had already recorded 21,637 deliveries, with 67 of them dying under age one, and 322 still-births.
Dr. Jacob Wundable Mahama, Deputy Northern Regional Director of Public Health, who disclosed this to the media in Tamale on Tuesday, explained that many of the still-births could have been avoided if pregnant women stopped taking concoctions to aid delivery, and stressed that enema usage was very common in the region.
He said malnutrition, anaemia, the failure of some pregnant women to attend ante-natal and malaria, could have contributed to still-births in the region, and urged pregnant women to take precaution and avoid practices that would endanger their lives and their pregnancies.
He said the problem of still-births in the region had reduced, as compared to the previous years, and advised pregnant women to lead lifestyles that would not affect their pregnancies to result in still-births.
Dr. Mahama who was speaking to the media as part of activities to mark this year’s Child Health Promotion week, expressed worry that many of the deliveries in the region were conducted by some traditional birth attendants due to the shortage of midwives.
He lamented that even though the midwives were few, 50 percent of them would be retiring from active service in four years’ time, and that the situation could worsen the problem of maternal health.
He noted that some health training institutions in the region had started training more midwives to fill in the vacuum, and expressed the hope that the situation would improve if more midwives were trained.
Dr. Mahama said GHS had re-engaged the services of some midwives who had gone on retirement, but there was still pressure on the health facilities, and advised retired midwives who had the means to establish maternity homes to augment the situation.
A tour to Diare, a community in the Savelugu/Nanton Municipality, to observe the Child Health Promotion Week, showed remarkable ante-natal and post natal attendance, an indication of many mothers wanting to access quality health care.
Mr. Moses Akunyam, a Physician Assistant at the Diarre Health Centre said, health facilities in that area receive an average of 500 children weekly, and that the child health promotion week was targeting 1,700 children to be immunized.
He said the children would be vaccinated against various diseases, and supplied with vitamin A supplement, de-wormers, and given insecticide mosquito nets to prevent them from contracting malaria.
Mr. Akunyam said the facilities in the area had not recorded any infant mortality for the past five years, and urged mothers o continue to attend ante-natal and post natal services.
Mr. Joel Abekuliya, Regional Health Promotion Officer, said the health directorate was bedeviled with logistical and financial constraints, which affect its ability to go to remote and hard-to-reach communities, to sensitize and provide quality health care.