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90 babies die daily & 30,000 annually

In Ghana, one newborn dies every 15 minutes, and 90 die daily. In all, as many as 30,000 newborns die annually before reaching the first month of life.

The major causes of these deaths are complications from preterm births, complications during birth, breathing difficulties just after delivery and infections.

The knowledge and tools to reduce at least two-thirds of these deaths are available in Ghana if immediate action is taken based on this knowledge, a release signed by Evelyn Offeibea Baddoo, Communications Officer of UNICEF, made these startling disclosures.

In this country, babies less than one-month-old continue to be the greatest at risk when it comes to under five mortality, the statement observed. Even though child health is a Government priority, too many young babies continue to die making it unlikely for Ghana to meet the Millennium Development Goal 4 target of reducing child deaths by September 2015.

Many challenges including access to utilization, quality of service and bad roads often cost the lives of young babies. However, applying an integrated strategy that links key interventions from pre-pregnancy care through to the post-partum period such as care during pregnancy, skilled delivery, early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding and postnatal care will speed up progress to reduce these deaths.

“Losing just one baby is one too many, but regardless of the strong evidence available, there is so much everyone can do, a joint effort with the health sector and the private sector could speed up progress towards saving the lives of these newborns” said Susan Ngongi, UNICEF Representative.

A year after the launch of the National Newborn Strategy and Action Plan in July 2014, a meeting of stakeholders on Tuesday under the theme “Born too soon, born too small; Help us live” brought together Parliamentarians, development Partners, representatives from Civil Society, traditional and religious bodies and the media to review progress made to improve newborn health and wellbeing.

The meeting offered health workers in Ghana an opportunity to share best practice in newborn care. Health workers at the two-day forum following the opening renewed their commitment to the quality of services they expend.

“The Ghana Health Service calls on parents, the community and health workers to work together to ensure our babies live. Preterm babies are more vulnerable to infections and complications and require dedicated care.

Prompt detection and treatment of infections among newborns will lead to improvement in newborn survival,” said the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Appiah-Denkyira.

Meanwhile the Minister for Health, Alex Segbefia, says it is regrettable that Ghana cannot meet 2015 MDG deadline on Reducing Child Mortality.

Mr Segbefia said what was more worrying was that 30 percent of the deaths are premature deaths which were preventable.

He accordingly charged stakeholders in the health sector to redouble their efforts to accelerate the decline in childhood deaths.

He directed that strategies and action plan must be put in place to give a good start to pre-term and low birth weight among babies who were vulnerable.

Source: Public Agenda

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