The role of the government has always been to plan and provide for its citizens. In order to plan, it is vital that the population census is carried out. The process also takes into count the number of deaths that have occurred in the period in between the last census and the current one. From the figures, the government is able to calculate the population growth rates and plan for the citizens. For cases where the population growth is too low, the causes are established and the necessary measures towards solving the problem put into place. In Ghana for instance, one great problem that is facing the country is the high maternal mortality rate in Ghana.
Mortality refers to death, while mortality rate refers to the quantity of deaths with reference to a specified population. Normally, mortality rate is related to a particular cause. Therefore, maternal mortality rate refers to the number of female deaths with respect to every 100,000 live births, as a result of any cause be it during pregnancy or as a result of the people in charge of attending to expectant mothers. Deaths that occur as a result of accidents or incidents do no account for maternal mortality rates.
For over 30 years, the high maternal mortality rates in Africa have paused a challenge to the United Nations. It has been a concern of every non-governmental organization that has seen to it effort being put to reduce these deaths. A number of statics have been carried out with the aim of finding solutions to this menace. These statistics have involved going through autopsy records of mortuaries. As of 1990, the maternal mortality rate in Ghana was 216 per 100,000 live births. In 2010, the number reduced to 164 per 100,000 live births. There is hope that the maternal mortality rate in Ghana 2018 will be lower.
The government alongside other non-governmental bodies are working tirelessly to reduce these deaths. There is a glimpse of hope although the current maternal mortality rate in Ghana are still above average. The expected maternal mortality rate should not be higher than 54 per 100,000 live births. According to the most recent statics that was carried out in Ghana, expectant women aged between 35-49 registered the highest maternal mortality in Ghana as a result of miscarriages.
Maternal mortality rate in Ghana by regions
As per a census that was carried out in 2008, the maternal mortality rate in Ghana by regions result were not so good. The western region registered the highest figures, of 314.9 deaths per 100,000 live births. The upper west region registered 140 deaths per 100,000 live births. However, in 2016, Accra has equally registered higher number of maternal deaths. The results of a survey that was carried out in 2016 show that the Greater Accra Region registered 197 deaths per 100,000 live births. Out of these deaths, 100 deaths per live births were as a result of bleeding. This caught the attention of medical practitioners whom according to them believe that the deaths were attributed to the loss of blood during childbirth and that the blood banks in the whole region could not sustain the casualties being attended to. This called for the need to create awareness on blood donation which was followed by frequent blood donation sessions to ensure that the blood banks had enough stock to sustain the lives of the poor mothers who were losing lives as a result of bleeding during delivery.
For over 20 years now, the government of Ghana has put so much effort in curbing the high rates of maternal mortality. The process has however been a slow and tough journey. This is a fight that the government commenced in 1990’s but has not given up despite the fluctuating values that have been registered. The government is still focused on the Millennium Development Goals, whose target is 54 deaths per 100,000 live deaths. This might sound tough, especially when bearing in mind the difficult question, what is the maternal mortality rate in Ghana. The answer to this question might sound discouraging, since the figures still stand at 319 deaths per 100,000 live births in the year 2015. This however does not mean this figure has not reduced, considering the fact that as per 1990, the figures were at 634 and 467 in 2000. With the right kinds of measures, this figure can be brought lower.
Maternal mortality ratio
When dealing with maternal mortality, it is very obvious that you will come across the term maternal mortality ratio, normally abbreviated as (MMR). This term is not any different from maternal mortality. The only difference is that it is a ratio. It refers to the ratio of number of expectant females deaths resulting from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 live births. When the first census to determine the maternal mortality rates was carried out, Africa registered the highest maternal mortality ratio.
This caught the eye of organizations such as the World Bank Group, World Health Organization(WHO), United Nations Population Division, UNICEF and UNFPA who since then have put all their effort to work towards curbing these deaths. Reducing maternal mortality ratio is one of the goals that the United Nations looks forward at achieving. Unlike countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa, which have registered higher figures in their mortality ratio, Ghana has consistently registered a drop in the ratio. African countries like Rwanda and Somalia are making positive change in their maternal mortality rates and this is very promising for Ghana country.
What is maternal mortality rate in Ghana
When carrying out population census, what is maternal mortality rate in Ghana is one question that will always pop up. The same way effort is being put to curb down infant mortality rates, the same effort should be channeled towards curbing maternal mortality rates in Ghana. It is time for people stop getting Goosebumps every time the question what is the mortal rate in Ghana is asked. It should be known that for the best results to be achieved, everyone should put in effort in the fight.
Maternal and infant mortality rate in Ghana
Over years, maternal and infant mortality rate in Ghana have topped the headlines of news. It is one nightmare that the country has faced for years. The fight to reduce these figures has been on for quite some time. It has never been the government’s wish to lose these lives and therefore it has tried all possible means of making sure that this menace is controlled. Conducting census is one of the measures that the government of Ghana has taken towards achieving this goal. With the correct figures, the government can tell to focus more and therefore channel the necessary resources required.
Unlike maternal mortality rate, infant mortality refers to the number of infant deaths, usually, those below one year, registered per every 1000 live births in a year. Infant mortality rate is also a factor affecting population growth. It is also a measure of the levels of health in a country. Very high infant mortality rates indicate poor health facilities and vice versa.
For years, Ghana has been known for a wide range of diseases. Some of these diseases include; cholera, tetanus, typhoid, pulmonary tuberculosis, measles, chicken pox, malaria, trachoma, infectious hepatitis, poliomyelitis, dysentery, guinea worm, yellow fever among others. As per a report that was compiled in 1974, majority of these diseases were waterborne and could be prevented. According to a report by the World Health Organization, malaria and measles topped the lists of the reason behind a big percentage of the premature deaths in the country.
To curb these deaths, reducing infant mortality rates was made part of the Millennium Development Goal and since then nations have embarked on reducing these deaths by at least two thirds. To achieve this goal, several programs were initiated. Some of these programs include the Life Saving Skills program, the Safe Motherhood Program and the Integrated Movement of Childhood Illness. Each one of these programs had a target that it aimed at meeting.
For instance, Life Saving Skills program was aimed at increasing delivery skills in midwives. This would eventually reduce the number of neonatal deaths. The Safe Motherhood Program was keen on ensuring that expectant mothers had safe deliveries and that the health services offered to their children were standard and the best. Integrated Movement of Childhood Illness targeted on survival of these children by ensuring they received the best clinical services. The program was also aimed at ensuring that the right health services were administered.
After a few years with these programs in existence, Ghana has experienced change. The infant mortality rates reduced tremendously. The diseases which were a threat to children’s lives were put under control. Better vaccines were administered and with time, less cases of diseases experienced. This had great impact on the country’s population in general. Since 1990 to 2015, the country has experienced more than 50% decrease in the infant mortality rate.
The infant mortality rate dropped from a whole 12.7 million deaths to 6 million. The government has gone an extra mile to ensure that its citizens are provided with clean water and mosquito nets. This has been a major contributor to lowering these figures since majority of the diseases that were a threat were water borne. As of the survey that was carried out in 2014, the infant mortality rates have reduced from 66 to 41 per every 1000 live births since 1990.
Apart from targeting the diseases that were responsible for these deaths, the government in conjunction with the programs have also created awareness to the benefits of having your baby at a health centre and the importance of having your kid immunized. Since 2009, there has been a positive growth in the number of kids delivered in health centres. There has also been a rise in the number of kids being immunized. Diseases like malaria, pneumonia and acute diarrhea have been put under control since mothers are educated every time they visit the health centres. It is a relief that this part of the Millennium Development Goals is on its way to being achieved.
Maternal mortality calculation
Maternal mortality refers to the number of expectant female deaths with respect to the every 100,000 live births. From definition, already, maternal mortality is a ratio. Therefore maternal mortality calculation can be done by simply dividing the number of female deaths with that of live births then multiplying the result by 100,000. Although, according to the United Nations, these deaths should be as a result of complications that occur during pregnancy or during birth. Deaths that result from accidents and other incidents do not fit in this category of maternal mortality.
Maternal mortality trends
In the 1990’s maternal mortality rates in Ghana were so high that maternal mortality was declared an epidemic. This drew the attention of non-governmental organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the World Bank Group. The organizations vowed work together with the government of Ghana to find solutions to the menace. The problem was included in the Millennium Development Goal. It was named Goal 5, which was aimed at improving maternal health.
The aim of the goal was to reduce the maternal mortality rate by two thirds by the year 2015. They also targeted provision of reproductive health to everyone by the year 2015. These goals are slowly being achieved with the strategies and programs being incorporated.
It is so obvious that, no matter how much the goals have not been achieved, the efforts that have been put in place have been fruition. The maternal mortality trends in Ghana have become so easily noticeable. The organizations behind this success can count their goals achieved. From records, the maternal mortality rates in 1990 were as high as 634 per 100,000 live births. In 1995, there was a slight drop to 532 per 100,000 live births. Later in 2000, the figure dropped to 467 per 100,000 live births. In 2005, the figure dropped to 376 per 100,000 live births. In 2010, there was a drop to 325 per 100,000 live births. The most recent survey shows that the maternal mortality of Ghana as at 2015 is 319 per 100,000 live births. This trend is promising and with time and more effort, the 54 per 100,000 target will be achieved.
Causes of maternal mortality rate in Ghana
According to statics carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Sub-Saharan region has over years registered the highest number of maternal deaths. Although these deaths are becoming less with time, the number that Ghana registers is still too high and needs attention from the responsible authority. It is therefore necessary to establish the causes of maternal mortality rate in Ghana.
According to the World Health Organization, the causes of maternal mortality rate in Ghana can be classified into two; direct and indirect deaths. Direct causes are those that result from the pregnancy. Some of these causes include; abortion process, hypertension as a result of the pregnancy, anemia, puerperal sepsis, postpartum hemorrhage among others. These causes normally are complications that occur during pregnancy. On the other hand, indirect causes are those that occur during the pregnancy period and have no relation to the pregnancy. These are diseases that may attack the expectant mother during the period of pregnancy. A common disease is malaria.
Apart from the complications and diseases, there are other causes of maternal mortality rate in Ghana. These include poor general health of the expectant women. This may be as a result of the high rates of poverty in the country. Most of these expectant women do not have the funds required to gain access to good medical care.
Apart from funds, some parts of the country, the Northern region for instance, do not have adequate access to medical facilities. These regions rely on health centers which are not properly equipped to serve them. The health centers too are scarse and therefore ever crowded. Because of this reason, most expectant mothers do not get access to the medical facilities.
Illiteracy is another cause of maternal mortality rate in Ghana. A good percentage of the country’s population does not have access to education and therefore cannot read and write. A good fraction of this population become expectant at very tender ages. Most of these young expectant mothers succumb to their pregnancy and during child birth. Others, out of illiteracy do not see the need of seeking medical care, and out of ignorance develop complications without their consent and before they notice, they also lose their lives.
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Maternal mortality prevention
As stated, it is the responsibility of the government to find solutions to maternal mortality prevention. Since the whole pandemic caught the attention of the United Nations and World Health Organization, the organizations have joined hands with the government of Ghana to find solutions to this problem. The journey to finding the solution to this menace has been summarized into solving problems related to; poverty, illiteracy, diseases, hunger and discrimination against women. It is evident that once these problems are solved, they will influence a reduction in the maternal mortality.
Diseases have a big share on the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations in Ghana in conjunction with the World Health Organization have utilized every slight opportunity to see to it that diseases are minimized. The Northern region for instance, is famous for malaria. Most of the expectant mothers succumb to the disease. The UNICEF, under the United Nations initiated the Kangaroo Mother Care which is aimed at ensuring good heath for the mother as well as the baby. The care has killed two birds with the same stone since the lives of mothers and babies have been saved. The care has also provided education to the expectant mothers on how they are expected to feed as well as the activities that they should engage. Education on malaria and the importance of sleeping under treated mosquito nets have been provided. The expectant women are also being provided with free mosquito nets.
Illiteracy is also a major contributing cause of maternal mortality in Ghana. Most of these expectant mothers that succumb to pregnancy related complications are below 18 years. This is a school going age. It is evident that these victims would be in school and would not have gotten pregnant in the first place. That is the reason why the United Nations is working so hard to create learning environments in the country to ensure that every kid has access to education. Illiteracy has also made some of these expectant women lack the knowledge on the need to attend prenatal clinics. Some deaths would have been prevented by simply going for these checkups. This is why the United Nations has established the Community Based Agents who mobilize and educate expectant women on the importance of these checkups. The organization is also training midwifes to offer better services.
As for poverty and hunger, the United Nations is working tirelessly to empower farmers by purchasing their produce at fair prices. With the fair prices, the farmers make profits and are motivated to work harder. In turn, poverty is curbed down. The organization is also after ensuring food security by helping manage the papaya mealy bug. By managing the menace, the organization has helped the farmers increase their produce and therefore have enough food. There are less cases of deaths resulting from hunger. Providing vocational training to the jobless in the society has also been of great importance since the skill obtained can be used to earn them a few coins and therefore curb the rates of poverty.
Provision of maternal health is also one method of reducing the rates of maternal mortality. The World Health Organization through agents is holding seminars and training camps to create awareness on the possible complications likely to be encountered during pregnancy and child birth. One of these complications is obstetric fistula which WHO is creating awareness on.
It is the hope of the government of Ghana that in the future years, maternal mortality will be a thing of the past.