KATH To Improve Maternal Health Care

The management of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), in collaboration with the government, has designed a programme intended to improve healthcare delivery and maternal care at its peripheral hospitals to bring down the maternal mortality rate in the country. The programme, which also aims at facilitating the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG5) in 2015, further seeks to provide the requisite medical training and capacity building to medical officers at the peripheral hospitals. This, according to the KATH management, would not only enhance healthcare delivery at such hospitals, but would also facilitate critical obstetric care for patients thereby reducing maternal mortality rate at the peripheral hospitals. Briefing Daily Graphic about their initiative during an interview, the Programme Coordinator, Mr F. Mensah- Acheampong, expressed concern about the high rate of maternal mortality at the KATH, explaining that the situation had arisen because of complicated cases referred from their peripheral hospitals. Between 2008 and the first half of 2013, 1,130 maternal deaths were recorded at the KATH. One hundred and sixteen maternal deaths were recorded at the KATH in 2005, but the number increased to 121 the following year. In 2007, a total of 139 maternal deaths were recorded at the KATH but the number reduced to 138 in 2008. Maternal deaths at the KATH further reduced to 114 in 2009, and in 2010, maternal deaths recorded at the KATH again reduced to 111. Maternal deaths, however, shot up to 151 in 2011, increased again to 156 in 2012, and between January and June, this year, a total of 84 maternal deaths have been recorded. Mr Mensah-Acheampong said it was due to this that KATH had identified 20 peripheral hospitals within its surrounding areas where consultants and senior specialists from the KATH would be attached to provide guidance and consultancy services to medical officers when the need arose. He said one critical issue that had been contributing to the high maternal deaths at the KATH could be traced to their peripheral hospitals where medical officers only referred cases at a time they had reached advanced stage. �Many of the cases are only referred at a time the conditions of the patients had reached critical stages, so they die before our medical officers attend to them,� he complained. He said some medical officers at the peripheral hospitals also lacked the competence to deal with certain cases, hence the decision of management to undertake the outreach programme to build their capacity, improve their skills and enhance quality healthcare delivery. �We have less than two years to reach the target of MDG 5, but considering the high rate of maternal deaths at the KATH and the peripheral hospitals, we may not be able to attain the target if we do not address the challenges confronting us�. Mr Mensah-Acheampong acknowledged. He said their initiative was also meant to reduce the number of complicated cases referred to the KATH, increase the survival rate of complicated cases referred as well as reduce the number of complicated cases that would be generated at the KATH. �We also want to use this initiative to increase the survival rate of newly born babies, hence this outreach programme to support the capacity building of medical officers at our peripheral hospitals� Mr Mensah-Acheampong explained On how to reach out to medical officers at the peripheral hospitals he noted,�The KATH has also established dedicated mobile communication networks, where the medical officers from the identified hospitals would regularly use at no cost to brief the consultants and senior specialists on complicated cases being handled� he noted during the interview.