Despite interventions such as free maternal health and emergency ambulance services, the Upper West Region is still recording high maternal death rates.
The region recorded 13 maternal deaths last year and 16 deaths from January-June with the Nadowli District contributing five fatalities during the period under review.
Madam Florence Angsomwine, District Director of Health Service made this known at stakeholders’ forum and the launching of safe motherhood week celebration in Nadowli at the weekend , on the theme: “Participation of male in improving maternal and child health.”
She said many women in the area still prefer to deliver at home, a practice that was causing maternal and child deaths in the communities.
Madam Angsomwine said the deaths could be prevented if community members and the women victims recognise danger signs early and seek health care.
She called for active participation of men and community opinion leaders to understand and appreciate the importance of improving the health of children and women.
“Efforts to reduce child and maternal mortality should be a collective responsibility of… stakeholders and should not be placed on the shoulders of health workers alone,” Madam Angsomwine said.
Madam Angsomwine appealed to the community to develop their own initiatives to remove the bottlenecks that hinder emergency obstetric care.
On adolescent pregnancy, Madam Angsomwine announced that two teenage girls, between the ages of 10 and 14 were pregnant in 2010, 216 girls ranging from 15 and 19 years and 591 girls between 20 and 24 years were pregnant within the same period in the district.
She said 376 pregnancies among girls between 15 and 19 years and 748 girls between 20 and 24 years had been recorded within this half year in the district.
Madam Angomwine appealed to girls in the area to embrace family planning to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion as well maternal deaths.
Mr Abu Kasangbata, District Chief Executive who launched the week, said henceforth assembly members would be held responsible for any maternal death in their communities.
He urged them to add the welfare and good health of their people into main functions and encourage men to accompany their pregnant wives to health facilities to receive antenatal care.
Mr Kasangbata announced that the two members of parliament in the area and the district assembly were sponsoring 50 trainee nurses to come out to provide quality health care services to the people.
Traditional rulers, assembly members, youth associations, mother support groups, women associations, non-governmental organisations and health workers attended the forum to make inputs to help improve maternal and child health care in the district.