Fix challenges at Tema General Hospital – Group.
Members of the MamaYe Advocacy Coalition have expressed their displeasure at the increasing rate of maternal and newborn deaths in government hospitals.
The coalition, made up of over 40 civil society organisations, raised placards at the opening ceremony of the 2015 Health Partners’ Summit in Accra to demand government’s immediate action on falling standards in women, children and adolescents’ health.
Clad in white T-shirts, the group picketed when the acting Minister of Health, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, was about to give the keynote address.
The coalition, among other things, demanded that the government immediately make money available to reduce the pressure on the facility and health workers at the Tema General Hospital in particular.
Some of the placards read: “Less talk, more action on maternal and newborn health. We’ve had it”, “It is not natural to die from pregnancy and childbirth”, and “One V8 can build a 35-bed maternity ward”.
The Tema Hospital has lost 20 women from pregnancy-related complications between January and April 2015 alone due largely to the state of the maternity unit.
According to MamaYe, a non-governmental organisation, a source at the hospital revealed that during the same period, 85 babies were born dead while 68 died in the first week of life.
The Executive Director of the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, Madam Vicky T. Okine, who visited the hospital, expressed dismay at the deplorable state of the facility, which manages an average of 1,000 deliveries every year.
“The condition under which our health officials work is appalling. The facility is usually overcrowded with women seeking basic obstetric care every day. One cannot ignore the visible frustration etched on the faces of the health officials. It is time for us, as a country, to ask some hard questions. Why should four women who just delivered share one bed with their four babies? In all, eight persons share one bed. It is dehumanising.”
Madam Okine said the situation was unbearable for the many women that visited the facility for basic maternal health services as well as the skilled birth attendants who were working hard to ensure that the women survived childbirth.
She took a swipe at politicians, who she said were well aware of the deplorable state of the Tema General Hospital but had failed to address the situation in spite of the numerous promises made.
“All those politicians should be ashamed of themselves. I stand here to make an appeal on behalf of pregnant women in Ghana, that the government should ensure that the maternity ward at the Tema General Hospital is completed with dispatch.
Work on the uncompleted maternity ward has been halted since 2008 and our women keep dying. Pregnancy and childbirth don’t constitute a disease. Each death can be prevented,” she said.
Out of every 100,000 live births, the Maternal Mortality Inter-Agency Group reports that 380 women die. That is more than a double of the casualty recorded in the Germanwings plane crash on the French Alps in March 2015.
Ms Okine said lives of families, especially children were disrupted when a mother died. She, therefore, called on the government, the Finance and Health ministries to increase investment and expenditure on health of women, children and adolescents.