• Philip Tengzu

GHS launches CAC campaign against preventable maternal deaths

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has intensified its campaign on Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) as part of efforts to help reduce maternal deaths resulting from unsafe abortion.

The GHS said the campaign had become necessary due to the high number of maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortion in the region, nationally, and globally.

This was revealed by Dr. Damien Punguyire, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, in Wa during the launch of the “Zero Tolerance for Maternal Deaths Campaign” on the theme: Stop Preventable Maternal Deaths and Disabilities”.

The objectives of the campaign were to, among others, coordinate and deploy CAC packages throughout the country and to establish and strengthen systems for training CAC service providers across all levels within all sectors.

The programme was also to institutionalize CAC services as permitted by law at all levels as well as to improve access to sustainable quality CAC services and contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality across the country.

Available data indicates that a total of 322 cases of abortion had been recorded at the health facilities in the region from January to April 2022.

He said the CAC campaign was part of steps towards reducing the maternal mortality rate in the country to the barest minimum as it had been recognized as a major development challenge globally.

Dr. Punguyire explained that unsafe abortion and anemia in pregnancy were among other causes of maternal deaths, which were compounded by health system barriers such as delays in accessing health care services.

“The Ghana Health Service is deeply concerned about the rising incidents of abortion-related complications, deaths, and disabilities especially among the young age group despite the availability of safe services at all levels of care”, he said.

The Health Director indicated that more than 1,750 cases of induced abortions were recorded between 2017 and 2021, with five deaths caused by unsafe abortions.

“The complications of unsafe abortion have serious economic and public health implications for families, communities, and the health systems in the region”.

“Some young women have lost their fertilities forever due to unsafe abortion and serious social consequences and some have serious life complications including kidney failures”.

“It is therefore imperative that efforts are made to find a lasting solution to the problem”, he explained.

Dr. Punguyire observed that despite treaties and agreements including the Maputo Protocol, and the existence of health policies in Ghana the target of seeing a decline in maternal mortality is yet to be realised.

He, therefore, said the country needed to double its efforts if it is to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal on reducing maternal mortality.

Mr Peter Maala, the Upper West Regional Coordinating Director, appealed to all the stakeholders, especially at the community level, to support the health personnel to sensitise the communities to the need for them to seek CAC when the need arises.

He added that they should help the socio-cultural connotation of abortion and to rid of the stigma associated with it to help people to seek CAC services freely at the health facility by qualified service providers.

Mr Maala said that would help prevent maternal death through attempts to terminate a pregnancy by an unqualified person, rather than visiting the health facility for those services.

Dr. Richard Wodah-Seme, Director of Public Health, UWR

While responding to questions at the launch of the campaign, Dr. Richard Wodah-Seme, the Upper West Regional Director of Public Health, revealed that the youngest person to be pregnant and deliver in the Upper West Region is a ten-year-old girl.

He said the child-mother and the baby were both in good condition and added that the health staff were keenly monitoring them and would put the girl on family planning to enable her to return to school.

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