The Ministry of Health through the Ghana Health Services is taking steps to deploy midwives to all Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds across the country as part of efforts to address maternal and neonatal mortality.
Task sharing has also been introduced for Community Health Nurses to enhance the accessibility of midwifery services at all CHPS zones.
These were contained in a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Health, Mr. Kwaku Agyemang Manu at the national launch of the International Day of the Midwife in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.
The day is set aside every year to celebrate midwives across the world for their critical roles in the delivery of quality healthcare.
The event was organized by the Ghana Registered Midwives Association (GRMA) with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the theme, “Midwives Leading the Way with Quality Care”.
The Health Minister indicated that midwives were pivotal to the promotion of quality care, especially in rural communities.
The Minister said the Ministry since 2014 had reduced the midwife to women in reproductive age ratio from 1:1,374 to 1:720 in 2017, representing 52 per cent improvement.
The achievement, he noted, was significant due to a number of deliberate policy interventions over a decade, adding that the ministry was poised to improve the figures going forward.
Dr. Jemima Dennis-Antwi, Regional Representative for Anglophone Africa of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), urged the government to revisit the concept of midwife entrepreneurs running their own maternity homes and promote a scheme that would encourage young midwives to own their own maternity homes to improve access.
She said the ICM would continue to champion high-quality work and excellence among members in the performance of their duties to ensure mothers and their babies received the best of care.
“To do this the ICM seeks to strengthen midwives associations globally and advance the profession of midwifery by promoting autonomous midwives as the appropriate caregivers for women of childbearing,” she stated.
Mr Niyi Ojuolape, Country Representative of the UNFPA, said every woman deserved access to quality care during pregnancy and childbirth.
He said midwives did more than just delivering babies as they provided more than 87 per cent of all sexual and reproductive services including caring for mothers and babies throughout pregnancy and childbirth.
Mrs. Netta Forson Ackon, President of GRMA, lamented the poor conditions under which midwives worked and called for urgent steps to be taken to resource health facilities especially those in rural communities.
She entreated the media to take keen interest in the work of midwives and highlight the challenges they faced daily to get the attention of policymakers.