Rights to Health; Maternal and Child Health in Ghana.

350 out of 100,000 live births results in maternal mortality in Ghana. [2010] 75 deaths occur for children under 5 years per 1000 live births [2012].  I have provided these statistics to raise the awareness of how our nation is losing its women and children annually due to lack of provision of adequate and quality healthcare. The Upper West Region has  recorded 28 maternal deaths this year from January to May as compared to 28 deaths throughout the whole of 2012. Quality healthcare is a human right for any human being and the lack thereof leads to unnecessary loss of lives. My focus on this years #BlogActionDay (#BAD13) is on maternal and child mortality in Ghana and the issues or challenges this country faces in the delivery of healthcare and the social and cultural issues which prevents women from seeking good health care. Here are the challenges according to a pediatrician and an MD with whom I had an opportunity of speaking with and he shared with me his experience.

Delay in Seeking Health Care;

  • Low status of women in some societies. 
  • Poor understanding of the the complications and risk factors in pregnancy and of when medical interventions are needed. 
  • Previous experience of health care Acceptance of maternal in health in many societies in the country.
  • Financial implications and challenges in seeking antenatal and safe child delivery. 

Delay in Reaching Care

  • Distance to health centers and hospitals  - many communities are far from the nearest health center hence increasing the potential of a fatality in medical emergencies. 
  • Availability of and cost of transportation - some forms of transportation such as taxis refuse to carry a woman in labor for fear of soiling their car seats.
  • Poor road networks connecting communities to health centers
  • Land geography such as mountainous terrain, rivers, etc

Delay in receiving adequate health care

  • Poor facilities and lack of medical supplies in some health centers
  • Inadequately trained and poorly motivated medical staff. 
  • Inadequate referral systems.
  • The above challenges also leads to the the rise of child mortality under 5. 

  • Access to Healthcare is based on the first two issues (Delay in Seeking Health Care and Delay in Reaching HealthCare) and encompasses the factors in the family and community, including transportation. The third delay is mainly focused on the factors in the health facility, including quality of care. To protect both mother and child, all three delays must be addressed and resolved. In practice, the third delay must be crucially seen to as it would be useless to facilitate access to a health facility if it was not available. well-staffed, well equipped and providing good quality care. 

What other solutions do you think can help in reducing maternal mortality in Ghana and the world over? 

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