The latest Ghana Maternal Health Survey (GMHS) has revealed a decline in the under-five mortality rate.
In the 2017 survey, child death recorded was 52 deaths per 1,000 live births, a decline from 155 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1988.
Speaking at the launch of the 2017 GMHS, the Acting Government Statistician, Mr. Baah Wadieh said, the achievements notwithstanding, efforts are still needed to address child deaths, as one in every 19 children in Ghana dies before their fifth birthday.
The survey also provides a new estimate for an important indicator in maternal mortality.
The maternal mortality ratio stood at 310 deaths per 100,000 live births during the 7-year period prior to the survey. However, the Ministry of Health operational plan aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to 203 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.
The data for the survey were collected nationwide, with a sample of 26, 324 households. More than 25, 000 women aged 15 to 49 were interviewed.
Overall, one in seven deaths among women in this group, in the past five years were due to maternal causes.
Two-thirds of maternal deaths resulted from non-obstetric complications aggravated by pregnancy, whereas more than one-quarter of deaths were indirect maternal deaths.
Direct maternal deaths refer to deaths resulting from obstetric complications during pregnancy, labour, or 42 days after delivery or the end of pregnancy.
Also, unspecified maternal deaths have an unknown underlying cause that took place during pregnancy or childbirth.
Six percent of maternal deaths were due to unspecified maternal causes.
Wadieh said “we need to make sure that the survey findings are utilized for decision making by health professionals at the national, regional, district and community levels.”
The survey further shows that Ghana has made progress in reproductive health indicators over time.
Fertility in Ghana has decreased over the past three decades, from 6.4 children per woman in 1988 to 3.9 children per woman in 2017. This means that on the average each woman in the country, currently has four children.
More women are now using family planning.
Survey shows that one in every four married women in Ghana is using a modern method of family planning. This is a five-fold increase from 5 percent in 1988.
Most popular modern methods of family planning are injectable, implants and the pill.
By Joshua W. Amlanu