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Intensify Pre-Eclampsia Education – First Lady Urges

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The First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo Addo, has tasked health professionals to intensify public education on Eclampsia in the country.

According to her, pre-eclampsia and other conditions still lead the unacceptable rate of maternal deaths in Ghana.

She stated that in some regions in Ghana, notably Greater Accra and Central, pre-eclampsia is the leading cause of maternal deaths.

The First Lady who was speaking at the launch of the World Pre-eclampsia Day yesterday indicated that the fact, according to experts is that the deaths are preventable and yet essential medicines and tools to treat the disorder, are often unavailable in our context.

“Globally, 830 women die from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes each day. After post-delivery bleeding, the second cause of these deaths, are pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.”

Mrs. Akufo Addo further noted that “A day like this reminds us, to intensify our efforts to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, by critically addressing both pre-eclampsia and eclampsia”.

She argued that it is critical to increase, resources including essential medicines to prevent and treat the condition adding that “We also need to increase awareness and knowledge about symptoms, prevention and treatment to help save the lives of mothers.”

Dr. E. Srofenyo, the Medical Director of the New Greater Accra Regional Hospital disclosed that the facility had been at the fore-front in creating awareness on the condition for all clients utilizing the anti-natal health services.

Touching on statistics, the Doctor said on the average the hospital conducts about 7,000-8,000 deliveries annually out of which more than one thousand suffer pre-eclampsia, making the condition the leading cause of sickness and death of women in the hospital and the country at large.

The New Greater Accra Regional Hospital Medical Director disclosed that available statistics at the facility indicate that over the past ten years, the prevalence rate for pre-eclampsia stood at about 11% on the average with a case fatality rate of 1%.

He said in 2017, out of a total of 6,692 women that delivered in the hospital, 843 of them representing 12.6% suffered from pre-eclampsia with a case fatality of 1.2%.

Mr. Solomon Osei Fosu, the Executive Director of Ghana Action on Pre-eclampsia in an address decried the seeming ignorance of women on the condition.

He said a research conducted by his outfit revealed that about 2% of women interviewed knew the name and symptoms of the condition.

This in the view of Mr. Osei Fosu, is indicative of the fact that a lot ought to be done by all stakeholders to maximize the awareness on the condition.

Niyi Ojuolape, the UNFPA Ghana representative for his part said if the country was to end material deaths, then everything that would jeopardize the health of the pregnant woman and her unborn child must be addressed.

He stated that childbirth must be safe for every woman no matter where she lives- whether rural or urban Centre.

Oheneyere Gifty Anti who was the Chairperson for the occasion on the theme “Be Prepared Before Lighting Strikes” said the gap between conception and delivery was risky but the society had made it seen normal.

She opined it is unfortunate for a woman to die as a result of these preventable conditions.

Pre–eclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to organs, most often the liver and kidneys.

Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women, whose blood pressure had previously been normal.

Some other symptoms include severe headaches, changes in vision and upper abdominal pain, usually under the ribs on the right side.

Other symptoms include Nausea or vomiting, decreased urine output and shortness of breath, caused by fluid in the lungs.

By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson

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