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No Neonatologists in Eastern Region Cause of high Infant Mortality

Eastern Region does not have neonatologists despite high infant mortality.

A neonatologist is a medical professional who specializes in caring for newborn babies, particularly those who are ill or born prematurely.

They may also provide antenatal consultation for women with certain risk factors, such as multiple births.

The Eastern Regional Director of Health Dr. Winfred Ofosu is worried about this development stating that it is making it more difficult to reduce neonatal mortality in the region.

“We don’t have any neonatologists in the Eastern region even though we have pediatricians so that is the aspect of human including the neonatal nurses, we don’t have them so this forms a gap as far as caring newborn babies is a concern, and also there is issues of infrastructure, equipment like incubators and some kangaroo mother care a space where the mothers will rest but never the less, within these challenges the health care workers are making some good efforts”. Dr. Winfred Ofosu said.

Despite this challenge, Dr. Winfred Ofosu indicated that neonatal mortality in the Eastern region has reduced from 8.2% per thousand live births in 2020 to 6.7% in 2021.

Meanwhile, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health, University of Ghana also an Epidemiology and Disease Control

Doctor of Medicine, Dr. Alexander Manu revealed that twenty-five thousand eight hundred (25,800) stillbirth and neonatal deaths have been recorded in Ghana in the last three years

Speaking during a presentation on “Assessment of Newborn Care in Ghana”, at the 10th Annual Newborn Stakeholders’ Conference held in Koforidua under the theme “Accelerating Newborn Survival and Wellbeing: Massive Scale – Up of Key Interventions for Impact”, Dr. Manu said, intrapartum related causes (asphyxia), together with preterm birth and infection accounts for 90 out of every 100 deaths recorded.

He also attributed the high stillbirth and neonatal deaths to institutional challenges such as the apparent shift of interest in newborn health demonstrated by the posture of managers at various levels, Poor adherence to policies and protocols, early initiation of breastfeeding, aggressive marketing and promotion of breast milk substitute, inadequate infrastructure and equipment, frequent rotation of trained personnel and many and most importantly inadequate neonatologists in the country.

Dr. Manu said, there is a deficit in the number of neonatologists as data collected from 143 out of 261 districts indicates that there was only one neonatologist from 2019 to 2021.

The Director General of Ghana Health Service Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye revealed that one of the greatest challenges contributing to neonatal death in Ghana is inadequate access to healthcare particularly in the rural areas hence ICT is going to be leveraged to bridge the gap in the meantime.

“To be able to reach them even at that far distance, we are going to introduce a technology which is an ICT- based customer care not for the rich but for the poor to ensure that we create access for them to improve quality of care and that will be a faster way of making us reach more of our newborns and pregnant women within the resources that we have now,” he said.


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