Improving maternal health in Ghana: resource availability for safe delivery in Akatsi and Keta Districts of Volta Region

 

Chuks J. Mba1* and Irene K. Aboh1

 

1*Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG96, Legon, Ghana.

 

*Corresponding author. E-mail:  chuksmba@yahoo.com 

 

Received  10 October,2009; Accepted  20 December,2009

 

Abstract

 

The thrust of the present study was to examine resources available for safe delivery in Akatsi and Keta Districts of Volta Region of Ghana with a view to highlighting the importance of improving maternal health in these districts in particular, and by extension in Ghana as a whole. Interviews were conducted from a sample size of 6,250 respondents within the reproductive age group of 15-49 years drawn from both districts in 2007. The results show that most of the women had only basic education and were generally petty traders, farmers and fishmongers. Only 39.2% of the women from Akatsi and 53.9% of their counterparts from Keta delivered in a hospital within 8 km from their places of residence, implying that a substantial proportion of the women from both districts traveled long distances to deliver their babies. Furthermore, delivery by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and assisted delivery at home by relatives and friends were still common, while the road network in both districts was poor. About 25% of the women from both districts spent more than 1 hr to walk to a health facility, while those who patronized vehicular means of transport had to pass through rough roads (61.2% in Akatsi and 52.2% in Keta). The findings also suggest that 36.4% and 29.1% from Akatsi and Keta districts respectively needed extra care from their attendants or experienced some degree of delay at the health facility level.  The Government of Ghana should thereforeaim at increasing girls’ participation at all levels of the education system in the country, andrehabilitate roads or construct new ones to help the people transport emergency complications to the health facility on time to prevent deaths. Every pregnant woman should be assisted by a skilled birth attendant because maternal deaths from pregnancies and birth complications are avoidable if the women are attended to by skilled professionals in well-equipped health facilities.

 

Key words: Childbirth, Ghana, health, maternal, mortality, pregnancy