30 pregnant women and infants die yearly in Upper Denkyira East due to bad roads

Poor road network is causing maternal and infant deaths in the Upper Denkyira East District of the Central Region as expectant mothers fail to get immediate response to cases resulting in many preventable deaths.

The roads leading to major health centres in the district is in deplorable state and increasingly becoming difficult for commuters and motorists to access healthcare especially during the rainy season.

Health workers are not left out in the situation as they are unable to visit communities within the district to render medical services to the people.

“We recently did what we call the net distribution in the Central Region and it was the rainy season.There is a community called Pokukrom. Before you get to the community, on both sides of the road, we have mining pits so when it rains it fills the mining areas and the water covers the road totally,” District Health Director Dr. Kwabena Sarpong said.

According to him, the only way to access that road “is to use canoes,” adding “You will see nurses riding in canoes and of course with no protective gears”.

Figures from the district health directorate show an average of 30 maternal and infant deaths are recorded annually in the district due to the nature of the roads.

Ambulances which are to transfer patients have broken down and most patients who are therefore referred to hospitals in the major communities refuse referral.

These unmotorable roads, the Health Director said, causes the delays in getting access to healthcare, hence underscored the urgent need to rehabilitate the road leading to major health centres in the district.

That, he said, would allow for the smooth transportation of patients requiring emergency services.

Dr. Sarpong was speaking at a durbar organised to donate items to Dunkwa-On-Offin Government Hospital by the Denkyiraman Development Association-UK.He said if the transportation problems are solved, health workers would be able to reach out to the local communities at specific intervals for service delivery.

He said the district as a way of solving some of these challenges is currently operating a memorandum of understanding with drivers in the district to ensure that they attend to expectant mothers without a fee.

One of the leading diseases reported at the facility, Dr. Sarpong said, include respiratory tract infections which are usually caused by the dust from the un-tarred poor roads in the district.

“Respiratory tract infection is one of the first five highly reported cases in the district and that is worrying,” he revealed.

He said the district was also compelled to increase the number of CHPS compound to 38 in the district as compared to the current four.

In support of the mounting challenges in the District, the Denkyira Development Association-UK donated heart monitors, two incubators, weighing scales, two detention beds and other equipment worth 88,600 cedis to support maternal health care delivery.

The Secretary of the Denkyira Development Association, Kweku Ackon Badu Addo said he was confident that the gesture would help reduce maternal deaths and infant mortality in the district.He also called for a collective collaboration among stakeholders in addressing some of the key challenges impeding health care delivery in the district.

“The roads not do only hamper the health sector but also all sectors of development”, he added.

Some of the drivers who ply the route complained to TV3 that the dust from the road poses a health hazard, indicating but for the intervention of the chief of the Dunkwa, the road would have been closed as it would have been unmotorable.

A chop bar operator in a nearby community, Pokukrom, Elizabeth Afriyie said the dust also affects her business.

“Sometimes when people buy my food and sit to eat, they start eating and immediately get up to leave because of the dust that keeps blowing into it and causes a lot of them not to buy from me” she told TV3.

By Adwoa Adobea-Owusu||Ghana

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