By Stella Danso Addai
Losing life in the process of giving birth has continued to be a challenge to most Ghanaian women. According to CIA World Factbook Report in 2010, maternal mortality rate in Ghana stands at 350 deaths/100,000 live births.
There are numerous reasons that could attribute to the high rate of maternal deaths in Ghana. Some of the common reasons why maternal mortality remain high in Ghana include poverty, lack of health centers in some communities particularly in the rural areas,
Care for pregnancy is mostly in the hands of the unfortunate illiterate mothers, who cannot read and write and therefore have no access to information. Illiteracy and ignorance are playing a major part.
Difficulty in reaching health experts by some community members because of bad road conditions, delay in accessing the health facility and delay in receiving care at a health facility have also been noted as major causes of maternal mortality in Ghana.
It is stated that while the majority of women receive ante-natal care, 45 per cent of births still occurred at home and only 55 per cent were assisted by skilled providers, making it difficult for women to receive the care they need in case of complications.
A case in point is about a pregnant woman in a village in Ghana who could not determine her time of delivery as a result of ignorance and illiteracy nor have no access to ante-natal care.
Her situation became worse, due to lack of a vehicle within the community to convey her to the nearest health facility. Instead, she was put on a truck pulled by manpower on a two-hour journey to the nearest facility
The 32-year old mother of three survived and later delivered safely at the hospital through a surgical operation due to some complications.
There are several ways of addressing the problem, and notable among them is education and cultural sensitization among the target groups.
Educating women about pregnancy, nutrition, delivery and care of the child should be a priority to all. Another innovative solution is for the Government to expand health facilities manned by skilled professionals with efficient equipment in the rural communities.
Skilled care during pregnancy and childbirth, by health care professionals should as well be recognized as the key interventions to reduce maternal mortality.
Other solutions should be the provision of reproductive health literacy, eradicating high rate of illiteracy among the women especially those in the rural areas and discourage reliance on traditional medicine in seeking health care.
There is also a need for health care providers to intensify education on antenatal care in the remote areas, to enable pregnant women over there to understand their conditions better and take good care of themselves.
Government should make it a point to adopt measures to monitor all stages of labour for example the use of pantograph and therefore maintain the implementation of the Free Maternal Delivery policy in line with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Provision of ambulance services at all Districts in Ghana could also be a help.