Maternal mortality in Bantama Sub-Metropolitan area, Kumasi, Ghana: a study on access to emergency obstetric care

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Maternal complications are claiming the lives of millions of pregnant women in sub- Sahara Africa which includes Ghana. Efforts to reduce the burden of maternal mortality to meet the Millennium Development Goal 5, (to reduce maternal deaths by 75% by 2015) appear to have had little impact. This is because from December 2005 to June 2006, four maternal deaths have occurred in Suntreso hospital in Bantama sub- metropolitan area. Complications resulting in maternal death can occur anytime without forewarning. This calls for prompt access to quality obstetric services. What appear to be missing in the reduction of maternal mortality are the barriers that hinder access to emergency safe motherhood services. A study sample of 275 pregnant women, 10 health personnel and 10 family members of deceased pregnant mothers were studied to explore socioeconomic and cultural factors, knowledge levels, effect of transport and the effect service providers have on maternal mortality. The objective of the study was to determine the barriers that hinder access to emergency obstetric care. More than 1 in 10 (13%) endure pain whenever there is complication in their pregnancy. More than two-thirds of respondents (66%) will report to their husbands whenever there is a complication. Eleven percent (11%) of respondents has taboos that forbid them to eat eggs and fish. Majority (84%) of respondents, stay more than 5 km from the health facility. Majority of respondents (83%) indicated that health personnel are inadequate. About (18%) of respondents see the relationship between pregnant women and health personnel as not friendly. As many as (93%) says, that there is no emergency team to cater for pregnant women. Respondents constituting (5 8%) do not perceive maternal mortality as a health problem. Women in the Bantama sub-metropolitan area must be encouraged to join the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Health education focusing on nutrition requirement for pregnant women must be carried out in the communities in Bantama sub-metropolitan area. In-service training must be organized for health personnel on the need to improve their attitude towards pregnant women. Road network in communities must be improved to ease the burden of transport on pregnant women
A thesis presented to the Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of in Health Services Planning and Management, 2006