Rethinking the causes of maternal mortality in Tolon district: Analyses of socio-cultural believes and practices as barriers to achieving MDG 5
Maternal mortality is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, from any cause aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes. In Ghana, the estimated maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is 350, while the number of maternal deaths stands at 2700. MMR for the Sub-Saharan countries is 500 with maternal deaths of 162,000. The estimates for global MMR are 210, with 28700 as the number of deaths. Though the Tamale Teaching Hospital recorded a 74% reduction of maternal mortality in 2011, it is argued that this institutional figure represents an insignificant number of women who deliver at the hospital and that the majority of births in the region occurs at home are not captured. The contribution of socio-cultural beliefs and practices to maternal mortality is incalculable. It prevents pregnant women from attending hospitals for ANC and delivery and even from taken certain food that can help improve pregnant womenís health. This paper elaborates on the question of maternal mortality, it interrogates the overemphasis on medical explanation to the maternal mortality and how that alone is not helping the situation. It delves into the issue of socio-cultural beliefs and practices as contributing factors to maternal mortality in Tolon district and the need to address these cultural beliefs and practices to pave the way for achieving the MDG 5and safe maternal delivery. The paper contributes to the ongoing debate on achieving the MDGs as the benchmark of 2014 is just around the corner. It also sensitizes the policy makers, the Ministry of Health and the public on the need to recast their efforts and focus on socio-cultural beliefs and practices to reduce maternal mortality in Ghana.
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