According to the World Health Organisation every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Also, about 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries

Every day in 2017, approximately 810 women died from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

94% of all maternal deaths occur in low and lower middle-income countries.

Maternal mortality is unacceptably high. About 295 000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth in 2017. The vast majority of these deaths (94%) occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented.

Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounted for approximately 86% (254 000) of the estimated global maternal deaths in 2017.

Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounted for roughly two-thirds (196 000) of maternal deaths.

African Region continues to have the highest birth rate among adolescents with approximately 120 births per 1000 adolescent women.

Between 2016 and 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the target is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births.

Ghana Situation

According the Ghana Health Service, though maternal health care has improved over the past 20

years, the pace has been slow and extra effort is required for Ghana to achieve the MDG 5 target of reducing maternal mortality rate by three quarters by 2015.

Institutional maternal mortality rate has reduced from 216 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 164 per 100,000 live births in 2010 with a distance of 110 to target of 54 per 100,000 in 2015.

What contributed to the progress?

A number of interventions introduced by government to improve maternal healthcare include

the following:

  • The implementation of free maternal health services, repositioning family planning and training as well as repositioning reproductive and child health staff;
  • A safe motherhood task force is operational and government is supporting increased production of midwives through direct midwifery training.

Key Challenges

In order to achieve the MDG of reducing maternal mortality by three-quaters, several challenges and bottlenecks have been identified in maternal health services. These challenges include:

  • Increase in scaling up maternal health services, particularly at the district level as well as investments in Community Health Planning Services and related Primary Health Care infrastructure and systems within the context of the Ouagadougou Declaration


  • Improving Deployment of skilled health workers, supply of equipment, logistics, staff accommodation, transportation and ambulance services in addressing human resource constraints and poor quality of care continue
  • Referrals still remain a problem in many districts. Three out of the five districts visited had no ambulance services. Although regional and district hospitals are well equipped to handle complicated labour cases, the main issue is how to timely transport women in labour to these facilities. The national ambulance service is said to be expensive (and probably not yet able to ensure district-based services)


  • The NHIS does not cover the cost of conveying women in labour to the facilities. The fact that the additional costs of transporting the women in labour together with the responsible TBA to the nearby hospital or health facility are not covered may be one of the major factors explaining the reluctance of mothers to deliver at the facility
  • Unavailable data set on maternal healthcare for systematic investigation into maternal health and lack of well-structured plans and procedures to check and assess where maternal health programmes are absent.


Barriers to access to critical health services by families and communities, mainly due to inadequate financial capabilities of families or mothers, long distance to the health facility and low female literacy rate as well as poor health-seeking behaviours among the poor, and socio-cultural factors such as men’s influence in healthcare decision making.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply