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Soma Health Centre reviews maternal deaths in LRR

Jan 10, 2014, 10:02 AM | Article By: Ebrima Bah in Mansakonko

The national Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) status report for the year 2012 states that The Gambia is not on track to reducing maternal mortality from its present rate of 730 per 100, 000 live births (2001) to the MDG target of 263 per 100,000 births by 2015.

The report prescribed an urgent need for a conduct of a comprehensive maternal mortality survey with disaggregated data at regional level for targeting of regions where maternal mortality is highest.

“Unless the maternal mortality ratio is known, based on the 2001 estimates, one can conclude that the goal will not be attained,” it stated.

In response to this crusade, health service providers from the Soma Major Health Centre met for their annual review of maternal deaths at the health centre recently in Mansakonko.

The meeting triggered case presentations, discussion on the challenges and possible solutions to the human reproductive threatening wizard in The Gambia.

In his introductory remarks, Ousman Camara, principal officer of Community Health Nursing (CHN) School in Mansakonko stated that the efforts of the health workers is intended to prevent the death of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth soon after labour, in the Lower River Region (LRR).

“Today we have come to discuss how far we have gone in the prevention of maternal deaths,” he said.

According to him, reproductive health situation is catastrophic for not only the child but also for the family and the entire village.

“The meeting was not to scare the health personnel, but it was meant to look at where mistakes might have occurred as a factor to maternal death and then build up mechanism through information sharing to avert them in the future,” says Ansumana Kanagi, a Community Health Nurse trainer.He urged the participants to be much willing to give their individual testimonies and experiences in dealing with maternal cases in their daily works.

For Abdou Sanneh, Officer-in-Charge at the Soma Major Health Centre, the cause of maternal deaths can emanate from a chain of stages involving the community and the health facility.

His point of thought indicates that unnecessary delays for patients to report to the health centre is a common attitude in the side of the community while the health service providers should be prepared to answer to questions of delays in handling emergency cases of labour.

The issue at hand, Mr Sanneh said is not beyond the solution stage. “Our contribution, discussion and recommendation will be important in helping the health facility to be more proactive in dealing with maternal deaths,” he said.

Juma Jallow, Regional Principal Nursing Officer (RPNO) erased the idea that the exercise was a fault-finding tool.

He says: “It is a means of trying to find factors leading to cases of maternal deaths.”

He said it was not finger pointing at anyone or to place the responsibility of wrongdoing at them.

To that effect, he said, care had been taken by his office to ensure the sample cases for the sessions are presented with anonymous names of patients, and addresses.

Mr Jallow explained that some common factors to maternal deaths include anaemia, late arrival of patients to the health facility, and poor management of the cases altogether.

For him, it is not enough for a major health centre like Soma to be without a blood bank. He launched an immediate appeal to the community, especially the security service and Red Cross Volunteers, to take ownership of the campaign for blood donation to the health centre.

The Governor of Lower River Region, Salieu Puye, described the syndrome of maternal deaths as a painful option which women have to bear in mind as an option in their reproductive role.

More sure, he said, the prevention of the cases of maternal deaths will have a great and positive impact on the productive sector of the national economy, adding that those women falling victim toit form part of the human resource base of the country.

Governor Puye urged all and sundry to participate in the measures needed to be taken to complement the ongoing efforts to end maternal deaths in his region in particular and the country in general.

“The measures to be taken in the reduction of the factors leading to these deaths should not be left in the hands of the health facility alone,” he said.

Delivering the opening remarks on behalf of the Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS), Kawsu Bayo, Senior Administrative Officer at the Lower River Regional Health Team, advised the health service providers to remain committed as much as possible to avoid pitfall in the course of maternal deaths.

He reminded them that awareness has gone to the extent of encouraging people to file legal suits against service providers relating to the negligence of their service.

“Despite schedule at their ends, the health service providers should put maximum attention to the woman in labour,” he remarked.

According to different surveys, The Gambia departed from a journey marked by the deaths of one thousand (1000) women in every one hundred thousand (100, 000) live births some twenty years ago.

Among them, the preliminary Demographic Health Survey in 2013 shows that the country registers four hundred and thirty -three (433) maternal deaths per one hundred thousand (100,000) people, which is below the 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of two hundred and sixty-three (263) maternal deaths per one hundred thousand (100 000) births.

It is estimated that 1 woman dies in every 42 cases in sub-Saharan Africa.

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