In Ghana over the previous three years, there have been 25,800 stillbirths and neonatal deaths reported.
During a presentation on “Assessment of Newborn Care in Ghana” at the 10th Annual Newborn Stakeholders’ Conference held in Koforidua under the theme “Accelerating Newborn Survival and Well-Being: Massive Scale-Up of Key Interventions for Impact,” Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Dr. Alexander Manu made this revelation.
According to him, preterm birth, infection, and intrapartum-related causes (asphyxia) account for 90 out of every 100 deaths that are officially reported.
Dr. Alexander Manu also blamed institutional issues for the high stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates in the nation, citing things like the apparent shift in managers’ attitudes toward newborn health, poor adherence to policies and procedures, early breastfeeding initiation, aggressive marketing and promotion of breast milk substitutes, inadequate infrastructure and equipment, frequent rotation of trained staff, and many other, more significant, issues.
According to statistics gathered from 143 out of 261 districts, there was only one neonatologist between 2019 and 2021, indicating a shortage of neonatologists, according to Dr. Manu.
Neonatal mortality in Ghana is largely caused by a lack of access to treatment, especially in rural regions, according to Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye, director general of the Ghana Health Service.
Dr. Kuma Aboagye went on to say that even though the data currently available shows that newborn deaths decreased from 43 per 1,000 births in 2017 to about 25 per 1,000 births, the Ghana Health Service has yet to release a new survey that will likely be released the following year to assess the current situation.
In order to serve pregnant women in rural areas without access to healthcare services, he said, Ghana Health Service would shortly launch an ICT-based client care program in 2019.
As neonatal mortality rates in the region are worrying, Eastern Regional Director of Health Dr. Winfred Ofosu voiced concern that the Eastern region now lacks a neonatologist, making the situation even harder to handle.