Tamale, Ghana – Dr Hilarius Abiwu, Deputy Northern Regional Director of Health responsible for Public Health, has revealed that the Northern Region of Ghana recorded 80 maternal deaths within the first nine months of this year.
Dr. Abiwu emphasized that a major contributing factor to the high maternal mortality rate was anaemia among pregnant women. Anaemia significantly increases the risk of haemorrhage during childbirth, leading to tragic outcomes.
The announcement was made during the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) German Academic Exchange Service Alumni workshop held in Tamale, which focused on addressing maternal healthcare challenges in the northern part of the country.
The three-day workshop centred around the theme, “Improving Maternal Health in Northern Ghana: The Role of the DAAD Alumni.”
The event also served as an opportunity for midwifery students to receive valuable insights into the issues affecting their profession beyond the classroom and how they could contribute to enhancing maternal healthcare in the country.
Dr. Abiwu expressed concerns over the low utilization of adolescent health services, leading to early unwanted pregnancies and complications for young mothers. Maternal mortality has risen to an alarming 300 per 100,000 live births in the Northern Region, significantly exceeding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
He urged the media to create awareness about the persistent gaps and challenges in maternal health, highlighting local solutions and successes to counter inactivity and indifference. This, he believes, will promote healthy behaviours and encourage women to seek care.
Professor Gideon Helegbe, Vice Dean of the School of Medicine at the University for Development Studies and Convenor of the DAAD Alumni workshop called on stakeholders to enhance the implementation of the free maternal health policy, ensuring that pregnant women have access to free quality maternal healthcare.
Professor Kennedy Alatinga, Dean of the Faculty of Planning and Land Management at Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies emphasized the need for maternal healthcare to be a top priority. He called for the availability of necessary supplies and consumables to ensure the delivery of quality maternal healthcare.
Mr Mahama Tenii, a Reproductive Health Programme Specialist at the United Nations Population Fund, urged the government to improve ambulance services and address the poor road infrastructure connecting rural communities, as these issues greatly impact maternal health in the region.