More women are dying in Ghana from pregnancy-related hypertension, known as preeclampsia than occurred ten years ago.
The condition now accounts for 18% of maternal death in the country, up from 9% before the last decade.
Action on Preeclampsia Ghana (APEC GH) wants the government to invest in monitoring to reduce occurrence.
Though progressive interventions are targeted at early diagnosis and prompt management, lack of definitive cure makes it life-threatening.
Dr Kwame Adu-Bonsaffoh, a Consultant Obstetrician and gynaecologist at University of Ghana School of Medicine and Dentistry, who has been involved in clinical research on hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, is worried Ghana still continues to record high numbers of preeclampsia,
He believes the situation is avoidable.
“If you take the UK for instance, they have reduced their maternal mortality due to preeclampsia. A study in the UK indicates that about 63% of maternal mortalities due to preeclampsia were described as undoubtedly avoidable,” Dr Adu-Bonsaffoh pointed out.
A Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Professor Kwabena Antwi Danso identifies lack of incentives in low-income countries as a major hurdle in managing the disease
“In most of our hospitals, we don’t have the means to take care of the mothers and babies. We need to look at the availability of drugs and also address the issue of patients who refuse to follow instructions given by caregivers, but rather prefer to look for spiritual explanation which results in dire consequences,” he said.
APEC GH is the sole preeclampsia working for advocacy group in Ghana. It is actively researching and monitoring women at risk for professional assistance.
It also seeks to create awareness to reduce maternal mortality associated with preeclampsia and eclampsia.
The Executive Director, Koiwah Koi-Larbi Ofosuapea, emphasises that increased government support is crucial for the survival of patients.
“Preeclampsia is a progressive disease so at every point in time patients must be monitored. It’s not a matter of coming to antenatal once every two weeks, or measuring blood pressure every 4 hours, it’s a matter of constant monitoring.”
“With my experience outside there were lots of machines that did 24-hour monitoring. Policy makers need to invest in the area of monitoring,” she stressed.
The organisation has brought together experts, students and policymakers from Ghana and other African sub-countries with a proven track record on preeclampsia management and research in the maiden preeclampsia scientific meeting in Kumasi.
It is under the theme, Improving management of Preeclampsia through awareness, Research and innovation.
APEC GH has been exploring ways to break new grounds and advances in preeclampsia.
Director of Family Health Division of Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Aboagye, says measures are in place for early detection and treatment.
His speech which was read by Dr Emmanuel Srofenyoh, indicated midwives are issued with new protocols to effectively cater for preeclampsia.
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