Members of Ghana’s National Association of Registered Midwives (NARM) have aired serious concerns about the lack of maternity equipment at several health facilities, especially in the rural parts of the Upper East region.
Some of the health stations are said to be delivering women without such basic items as gloves, drugs, cannula (a tube inserted into the body of a pregnant woman to deliver water when she is bleeding) and catheters among others.
The absence of such tools, according to the worried-looking midwives, puts the country on an awkward track in the global race to attain the Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) on maternal and child health by the approaching deadline of 2030.
At least 33 women in the region perished, some with their unborn babies, during delivery in 2016. The region also recorded 44 maternal deaths the following year, according to the Upper East Regional Health Directorate.
The concerned midwives, who spoke to Starr News during the regional celebration of this year’s May Day held in the Bongo District, also called on government to accord midwives in the region the support needed to deliver quality healthcare services to patients.
“We are calling on government to really look at the Upper East region and make sure that the CHPS centres in the rural areas well equipped. They don’t have basic items to work with— like the gloves, cannula, infusions, catheter, common drugs before they refer, transportation and a whole lot.
“The rural areas have a major challenge with transportation. Most of the deaths occur as a result of delay in bringing them to the facility. We need a lot of ambulances. Sometime ago, they gave us some motorised tricycles as a form of ambulance to bridge the distance between the regional hospital and the rural areas; but they are no longer in existence; we don’t know where they are,” said Elizabeth Taylor, the association’s acting Upper East Regional Organiser.
She added: “We need transportation so that we can refer the women we cannot manage at the rural areas, who need urgent care. They need to get to the facility early. It is the delay that brought most of the deaths. We need more ambulances. I will still speak for the peripheries because the hospitals are doing well by providing a lot of things to make us work well. But with the peripheries, some of them don’t have basic amenities.”
Government is playing its part; play your part— Regional Minister tells Workers
The national theme for the event, “The Sustainable Development Goals and Decent Work: the Role of Social Partners”, rhymed with the placards displayed by workers at the May Day parade and the speeches delivered by government officials.
Some of the placards screamed: “Mr. President, reduce fuel price now!!!”; “Hon. Regional Minister, workers deserve better.”; “NHIS, pay service providers now.”; “Where is our Tier-2 money?”; “Protect young workers.”; “Where is our one district one factory?”; “The private sector is dying.”; and “We cannot forfeit our arrears.”
The Upper East Regional Minister, Emmanuel Rockson Ayine Bukari, saw those inscriptions when the workers, minutes after they had returned to the venue of the event from a road march in the host district, rallied towards the dignitaries’ dais with their corporate banners and showed the placards to him.
He replied in an address delivered about an hour later: “While government works at improving the work environment, it is also expected that workers will play their part by supporting policy implementation. We have enjoyed support from organised labour so far in the last one year. We worked at determining the 2018 minimum wage ahead of time. We hope we can do same this year.”
Bongo adjudged Most Peaceful District
Welcoming the May Day crowd, the District Chief Executive of Bongo, Peter Ayimbisa, touted some feats and opportunities he highlighted as reasons investors should consider the district as a suitable business destination.
“The Bongo District is one of the most peaceful districts in the Upper East region. It was against this backdrop that the Ghana Tourism Authority adjudged the district as the most peaceful district in the region in 2017. The Bongo District abounds in touristic attractions including flora and fauna.
“The district is blessed with the Vea Recreational Centre, the Aposerga and Azudoo Rocky Mountain and the Apasepanga Footprints just to mention a few. The district is also endowed with natural resources— such as clay deposits, the Zorkor dimension rocks and many others. The doors of the Bongo District are open to prospective investors who would like to tap these natural resources for our mutual benefit,” said Mr. Ayimbisa.
The event came to a close with presentation of citations and rewards in the form of television sets and refrigerators to a number of workers said to have worked industriously in the region in 2017.