A research conducted by the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR) and Mission of Hope International in the Bongo District has revealed that whilst supervised deliveries, particularly ante and post-natal, have improved about 84 percent, teenage pregnancies and abortion are still high in the area.
The research was to monitor health delivery in the district towards achieving the MDGs four and five which are maternal and child mortality. It was also aimed at prompting stakeholders on the gaps on the MDGs to address them for improved health, especially on maternal child health.
Speaking at a dissemination workshop for stakeholders including health workers, National Health Insurance Scheme staff, assembly members, community members and students at Bongo on Friday, the area development officer of Mission of Hope International, Thomas Abagmbire, explained that unlike last year, research findings had shown a tremendous increase in the supervised delivery.
He, however, expressed dissatisfaction about the continuous high rate of teenage pregnancies and abortions in the district, particularly among school children at the basic level, stressing the need for all stakeholders to work towards addressing the phenomenon.
The research also identified that there were inadequate health personnel in the health facilities in the area, especially at the community health-based planning centres, which lacked midwives to undertake delivery.
â€śInstead of 30 community health-based planning centres needed in the district to meet the health needs of the people, there are only 18 of them. This is affecting health delivery in the district as most patients find it difficult access health services.â€ť
It said under normal circumstance, one midwife and one community health nurse were supposed to man a community health based planning centre but said as at now, only two out of the 18 met the criteria of one midwife and a nurse. The rest had only one community health nurse each who lacked delivery skills.
The research also established that Bongo as a district lacked a district hospital and only had a health centre, with one ward containing both adults and children.
â€śAccess to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is generally good but majority of the people cannot afford the GHÂ˘12.00. Many women and children have not been able to register with the scheme,â€ť it stressed.
Family heads are forced by management of the NHIS to pay for all their family members, which the community members noted was very expensive.
The three-month waiting period for beneficiaries to receive their cards after renewal was seen to be another major problem that was identified.
Hajia Mary Issaka, a midwife in the district, confirmed the high rate of teenage pregnancies and abortions and attributed the problem to the poverty level of the district, peer pressure and lack of parental control.
She said as part of measures to help curb the trend, she had introduced adolescent reproductive health clubs in seven basic schools in the area where she routinely educated the students on how to conduct themselves well to avoid being victims.
The stakeholders said there was the need for the district assembly to pay special attention to the human resource development of the district, by encouraging and sponsoring more students in the community to go for training in health institutions.