The management of maternal and neonatal related complications is increasingly becoming a challenge for authorities at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) due to the absence of a comprehensive Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Neonatal deaths rose from 59 per 1000 live births in 2017 to 63 per every 1000 live births in 2018 while under-five mortality ratio slightly increased from 71 per 1,000 in 2017 to 77 per 1,000 live births in 2018.Though the maternal death rate reduced from 41 deaths with a maternal mortality ratio of 1,335 per 100,000 live births in 2017 to 27 deaths and 860 per 100,000 live births in 2018, the figures, according to the hospital were still unacceptable.
Consequently, management has called for support to establish a maternal and child care facility at the hospital to adequately handle all cases including referrals from within and outside the Central Region.
This will go a long way to bring down the growing maternal and neonatal deaths recorded at the facility.
Giving an overview of the maternal and child health performance at the annual performance review meeting of the hospital, Dr Yemah Mariama Bockarie, a Specialist Paediatrician, said many of the deaths were late referral cases.
The performance review was themed: “Applying Evidence-based concepts to improve clinical governance, quality of care and sustaining gains”.
“Our NICU was never planned as a baby unit from the beginning so it was a makeshift arrangement. So we don’t have oxygen points coming from the wall. We have to use our cylinders. If we really want to step up the kind of care that we are giving babies especially when it comes to machines that help them breath, we need this setup and it’s been a challenge” Dr Bockarie said.
She said 50 percent of neonatal deaths recorded at the hospital occurred within the first 24 hours, 60 percent were from referrals.
Dr Bockarie said the focus must be on equipping district hospitals and other frontline facilities to provide skilled care at the community level to reduce the number of referral cases.
Other factors included inadequate infrastructure, equipment and expertise, inadequate specialist nurses and only one incubator as at the close of 2018.