Dr. Elias Sory, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Wednesday expressed optimism that the country would achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Four and Five, which are focussed on reducing infant and maternal mortality.
He said Ghana has what it takes to reduce maternal and infant mortality and asked medical superintendents and the health facilities to wake up to their responsibilities.
Dr. Sory was speaking at the ninth Annual General Conference of Medical Superintendents’ Group (MSG) in Ho on the theme: “Achieving Targets for Reducing Maternal and Infant Mortality (MDG 4 and 5), the role of Hospitals.”
“You must wake up to the realisation that one maternal death is a calamity and allow the system and standards to work so we can achieve heights countries such as Sweden and Sri Lanka have reached recording no maternal death,” he said.
Dr. Sory charged medical superintendents to follow administrative instructions, conduct audit and investigations into every death and take appropriate actions to forestall mistakes which contribute to maternal and infant mortality.
“You must put your quality assurance skills in to use”, he said.
He asked politicians and traditional authorities to “help maintain sanity” in the health system towards reducing maternal and infant mortality by not interfering with postings of medical professionals.
Dr. Sory emphasised that maternal and infant mortality is preventable and called for the collaboration of all to make it possible.
Mr. Rojo Mettle Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health urged medical superintendents to declare a “zero tolerance for maternal and infant mortality” and go beyond their hospitals to do public health education.
“Make it a point that when a potential mother comes to your hospital, she leaves alive,” he advised.
Mr. Nunoo called for the establishment of a league table for maternal and infant mortality to track districts doing well, for commendations.
He announced that 135 ambulances would soon be released to all hospitals to assist in emergencies.
Dr. Paul Kwaw Ntodi, President of MSG-Ghana said maternal and infant mortality remained high and had become emergency cases in the country.
He pledged the commitment of the Medical Superintendents to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
Dr. Ntodi appealed to government to exempt hospitals from the Electricity Company of Ghana Pre-paid metering system, because it is affecting healthcare delivery.
He said this had become necessary in view of the number of women and children who had lost their lives at health facilities were the authorities were unable to re-load their pre-paid meters.
Mr. Joseph Amenowode, Volta Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf, said the level of maternal and infant mortality in Ghana is unacceptable and called on all health and allied groups to help stem the situation to enable the country meet MDGs Four and Five.
He pledged the preparedness of the Regional Co-ordinating Council and Municipal and District Assemblies to support the GHS meet its targets.
Dr. Timothy Letsa, Regional Director of Health Services said the Regional Directorate had institutionalised a peer review mechanism to improve on healthcare delivery.
He said the directorate is also training and re-training midwives to help reduce maternal and infant mortality in the region.
Dr. Letsa however spoke against the unwillingness of medical doctors, especially the young ones to accept postings to deprived areas.