Member, maybe you have to find out what she means by “registration”. Please, go on hon. Minister.
Hajia Mahama: Mr. Speaker, you
have to pay a premium to register and that is why I used the word “registration”. You cannot register without paying the premium; you have to pay and that is why it is called insurance. You have to pay a
premium to register. If they would allow me, I may continue.
Mr. Speaker, the maternal mortality
figures before the 2005 demographic health survey were 214. The last demographic survey in 2005/2006, the figures were 197 and 187 respectively under the national demographic health survey, they showed a reduction. However, in 2007, they have not yet done the survey but it is estimated that there has been an increase to 230.
So we are calling for a survey to let us know whether there has actually been an increase or a decrease, because the trend was a decrease and now we are being told that the figure is 230. Therefore, we are expecting another demographic health survey to know the real figure. But if we look at the authentic demographic health survey, it was 197 and then 187 out of 100 live births. Whatever the case, the figures are still high, out of 2000 live births and we still need to do something about that.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) require that we should reduce poverty, we should ensure universal enrolment, we should empower women but we should also ensure improvement in maternal health and improvement in child health.
When Ghana was being reviewed, it
was indicated that Ghana was on track to achieve a reduction in poverty. Ghana was on track to achieve a universal school enrolment: Ghana was on track because we were putting in efforts in that area. However, we were not likely to achieve the target for maternal health, that is, improvement in maternal health and improvement in infant and child health and that we needed to double our efforts.
Then the President therefore used that opportunity to say that achieving the Millennium Development Goals for
[HAJIA MAHAMA] improvement in maternal health was so important and fundamental for the development of Ghana; and we needed to use the resources that we were getting under the MDGs to ensure that there was an improvement in maternal health and therefore, reduction in maternal mortality.
We applauded him for going there with one item agenda and saying that moneys that were coming from the British Government should be pooled for maternal health. We were therefore glad that his request was responded to and we got £42.5 million. The budget estimates put $6 million for maternal health per annum for Ghana. So if we have £42.6 million, and convert it to the current figures to dollars, I am sure we would get about nearly $90 million. If we divide that by 6, it means that this would be doing a lot of work for us for a number of years.
Mr. Speaker, for this matter, we congratulate His Excellency the President. I mobilized women to go and thank him for what he did for us, going there with a one-item agenda. It is our hope and our expectation as has been observed here that the money would be used well, set up some teams, comprising the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, including Parliament, because health is a multi -sectoral activity that we will all work together and ensure that these monies are used for the benefit of pregnant women to improve the maternal health.
It is my expectation that family planning would be factored in so that we address the issue of family planning as well, because it relates to maternal health. If the mother is not healthy, she will definitely not get healthy children; and factors even including women empowerment issues to ensure that women are able to avoid the delays that were ably narrated in the
Statement and to ensure that women have the resources and that they will go to hospital and seek maternal health.
Mr. Speaker, I need also to refer to the issues of women going to the hospitals and not being detained there for not paying their bills. We all know about the problem of neo-natal care. The children that the neo-natal clinics are now saving, in the past would have died. But it also requires a lot of resources, it requires disposable items and the bills need to be picked up.
It is my expectation that the $42.5 billion will also be used to support the neo-natal clinics so that the high cost that is expected will be taken care of and the little ones will survive. I have visited the place and sometimes the children, you cannot even handle them; they are not bigger than my palm, very little ones and they need to take care of them, they need to support them to survive.
Yes, infant mortality has increased slightly from the under five mortality figure that he was quoting from 57 to 64. What are the policies in place to do that? The Upper East Region had the highest figures of over 150. What we did was, we did an intensive programme in the Upper East Region and we were able by using mothers, using all sorts of inter-sectoral collaboration under the accelerated child health programme, to reduce infant mortality and child mortality in this region by 50 percentage points. So this shows that it can be done and we can develop strategies to bring down infant mortality.
The next place is the Upper West Region because the Upper East Region had the highest figures; now, the higher figure is the Upper West Region, which had 108 out of 1000 births; and we have mobilized our resources again to ensure that the high impact rapid delivery
[HAJIA MAHAMA] programme addresses the issues of infant mortality in the Upper West Region. This programme has been going on for two years now and my Ministry is involved, mobilizing women and ensuring that they become the peer group educators in the use of all the facilities to bring down maternal mortality.
We are extending it to the Northern Region and to the Central Region and it is our belief that as this continues, infant mortality figures will reduce.
Mr. Speaker, our nurses, it may be that