Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Objectives: This paper aims to explore the factors that influence maternal and infant mortality rates in Ghana. These include: cultural practices, demographics, quality and type of healthcare, affordability of insurance, traditional midwifery, treatment of women, the environment, and transportation.

Methods: The study included a literature review of health service outcomes annual reports, and observational visits to healthcare facilities in Ghana that was done from March 6th-March 17th 2017.

Results: Ghana had a significant reduction of both maternal and infant mortality rates from 2005 to 2015. In 2005, Ghana had a maternal mortality rate of 376 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, and in 2005 the infant mortality rate was 56.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2015, the maternal mortality rate was 319 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, a reduction by 57 deaths or by 15.16 percent. In 2015, the infant mortality rate was 42.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, a reduction by 14 deaths or by 24.65 percent (Maternal Mortality, n.d.; Mortality Rate, Infant, 2016). Ghana Demographic Health Survey 2014 reveals an increase in healthcare utilization with more women obtaining prenatal care from licensed healthcare providers and delivering in healthcare institutions (Ghana Demographic Health Survey, 2015). Between 2003 and 2014, children attained higher vaccination coverage and had a reduction in diarrheal diseases, malnutrition, and upper respiratory tract infections which are major causes of infant mortality (Ghana Demographic Health Survey, 2015). There was an increase in home follow-up visits for prenatal and postpartum mothers.

Conclusion: The increase in the use of healthcare services, along with the supervision of community healthcare by licensed professionals, has affected mortality rates in both women and children in Ghana. Community involvement for healthcare mobilization appears to be the linchpin for success in reduction of maternal and infant mortality. Understanding and using culturally appropriate health education messages continues to be the most important focus that would help further reduce mortality. Use of affordable and accessible resources for prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care would encourage more women to give birth in healthcare facilities.

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