The World Health Organizations in 2016 after assembling health experts in Geneva issued a new series of recommendations to improve quality of antenatal care to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience.
Key among the recommendation were increase contact hours for pregnant women by health Providers and at least One ultrasound scan before 24 weeks’ gestation (early ultrasound) for pregnant women to estimate gestational age, improve detection of fetal anomalies and multiple pregnancies, reduce induction of labour for post-term pregnancy, and improve a woman’s pregnancy experience.
Ghana Health Service recommends at most three times Ultrasound Scan for pregnant women before delivery for better monitoring of the health condition of fetus and mother.
Ironically, Ultrasound Scan Services are unavailable in most health facilities, particularly in rural areas.
Pregnant women are mostly referred to bigger health facilities – District and Regional Government Hospitals for the service which many fail to do comply due to multiple factors including financial challenges. Pregnant women are charged at least Ghc30 for the service.
This result in a mass default of antenatal attendance as Pregnant women who fail to acquire Ultra Sound Scan reports shy away from attending antenatal for fear of being scold by the midwives.
This goes a long way to affect timely medical interventions required to be given to Pregnant women with abnormal conditions resulting in fatal complications sometimes before and during labour.
However, the narrative is being changed following the implementation of Community-based Ultrasound Scan Services by Divine Mother and Child Foundation (DMAC) -a Maternal and Child health Centered None Governmental Organization based in Koforidua, Eastern Region of Ghana in collaboration with Vodafone Ghana Foundation.
The NGO has since 2015 delivered free Ultrasound Scan Services to about 15,000 Pregnant women mostly in rural parts of Ghana.
The Community Ultrasound Scan Service delivery by the NGO continues to record massive patronage by Pregnant women anxious to determine the health condition of their fetuses, breech position if any, Sex, and most importantly accurate date of delivery
A three day Ultrasound Scan services held at Kedjebi and Ahamansu communities in Oti Region which started August 4th to 7th, 2019 by the NGO benefitted 200 pregnant Women many of whom were noted to had defaulted antenatal attendance due to their inability to travel long distance for Ultra Scan Service due to unavailability of the Service in the area.
Executive Director of DMAC Foundation -Edmund Atweri Duodu, told Kasapa News, ultrasound Scan services are a very important component of antenatal care however lacking in most health facilities in rural parts of the country leaving Pregnant women to their fate regardless suspicion of abnormalities in their pregnancy hence the intervention in providing the service at their doorsteps.
“The free ultrasound scan service has been beneficial. It has saved even pregnant women who had Intra Uterine fetal deaths, those with breech Positions among others were quickly referred for emergency care. We do it together with midwives and nurses in the beneficiary communities so we provide ANC services and health screening simultaneously”.
Maternal Mortality ratio in Ghana was still as high as 319 per 100,000 live births and the neonatal mortality rate is 29 per 1,000 live births as at 2016.
According to Edmund Atweri Duodu, more infrastructure, logistics and skilled midwives are needed to feel the gap in healthcare delivery on the rural areas to help reduce the ratio of maternal and neonatal Mortalities.
Source: Kasapafmonline.com/Kojo Ansah