Concerted efforts required to reduce infant deaths – Amissah-Arthur

Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur, the Second Lady, on Monday called for concerted efforts from the general public, to drastically reduce newborn deaths in the country.

She expressed regret that newborn mortality rate remained high, and was due to asphyxia, prolonged and obstructed labour.

The Second Lady indicated that statistics from the Ghana Health Service showed that 120 babies died in every 1,000 delivery, which according to her, was unfortunate and unacceptable.

Mrs Amissah-Arthur was speaking at the launch and opening session of a four-day trainer of trainee workshop on “Helping Babies Breath (HBB)” programme in Sunyani.

The HBB, developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), is an

evidence-based programme, aimed at teaching simple interventions that will reduce over 90 percent of newborn mortality rate.

It is being implemented in the country by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGGL), in collaboration with Project CURE, a United States Non-governmental Organisation.

The 24 participants, made up of nurses, midwives and community birth attendants, are drawn from the Asutifi North and South and Tano North Districts, and the Sunyani Municipality.

Mrs Amissah-Arthur observed that statistics from the Ghana Health Service showed that 120 newborn babies died in every 1,000 deliveries supervised, which she regretted, was unacceptable.

“This statistics is not even the true picture of what is happening, as most women in deprived areas deliver at home,” the Second Lady added.

She said the first few minutes of child birth was very crucial, evidence had showed that many of these deaths occurred within 24 hours of their lives.

Mrs Amissah-Arthur asked the project implementers to endeavour to extend it to cover other regions, and charged the participants to take the workshop seriously, so that they could go and effect positive changes in their various communities.

“The day of a birth of a baby should be a happy day to bring smiles in the face of fathers and relatives”, she said.

Mrs Adiki Ayitivie, Director, External Affairs and Communications of NGGGL, emphasized that health safety of people remained essential part of the company’s operations.

She said in 2013, Newmont in partnership with project CURE, provided medical supplies worth about two million dollars, to support medical facilities in the company’s mine-take communities in Ahafo and beyond.

Mrs Ayitivie since the outbreak of the Ebola disease in some parts of Africa, Newmont had been working with the Ghana Health Service at the national, regional and district levels, to co-ordinate its Ebola preparedness activities, train health personnel and equip the various health facilities with preventive equipment.

Mrs Patricia Kelly, HBB master trainer and mentor of the project CURE, explained that the programme was in line with the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal Four, which focused on reduction of child mortality.

She said according to the World Health Organisation, one million babies die each year immediately after birth, as a result of their inability to breathe. GNA

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