Madam Speaker, with only five years to the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it has been reported that, improving maternal health (Goal 5) has made the least amount of progress.
It is in the light of this that I rise to make a Statement on the need to intensify our fight against this menace, which is not only claiming the lives of many Ghanaian women and other women round the globe, but also constitute a human rights violation and a development challenge of our time.
According to UNICEF, more than 500,000 women die in child birth or from complications during child birth each year with the majority from Africa, while millions more suffer disabilities caused by complications.
Madam Speaker, at this year's Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC, which was attended by over three thousand participants, including the First Ladies of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Zanzibar and over fifty Parliamentarians across the world, maternal mortality featured prominently during the deliberations and the general consensus among participants was that, most maternal deaths are preventable and that the health solutions to prevent maternal deaths are readily available and cost-effective.
Madam Speaker, ensuring access to modern contraception to every woman who needs it, the provision of adequate health facilities, skilled birth attendants and health professionals, better provisions for emergency treatment and improved logistics for rapid movement of complicated cases are all basic requirements for improving delivery care.
Madam Speaker, intensifying education for pregnant women on the importance of recognizing danger signs and seeking early care, is critical for improving healthcare for women while providing universal access to reproductive health services, must be prioritized. Husbands must also be encouraged to take very good care of their wives during pregnancy.
M a d a m S p e a k e r , a s Wo m e n Parliamentarians, the Women's Caucus in Parliament assumed a leading role in the fight against maternal mortality. The Caucus launched a Fund and with the support of the MTN Foundation, refurbished the Korle-Bu Maternity Theatre.
Permit me, Madam Speaker, to use this opportunity to congratulate Hajia Mary Issaka, a 53-year-old Ghanaian Midwife from Zorkor, a village in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region for emerging as the International Midwife Champion of the Year at the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC.
Madam Speaker, the Midwife Champion of the Year Award recognizes the work of midwives in low-resource settings and the award is given to a midwife who has made an extraordinary
effort in a developing nation, specifically in the training of midwives, educating communities, advocating for and implanting evidence-based midwifery care and innovation to save lives.
Madam Speaker, in a developing country like Ghana, midwives are the front-line maternal and child healthcare providers who give advice and life-saving information to pregnant women, counsel HIV-positive women on how to protect their unborn children from infections, prepare women to give birth and plan their families, help deliver babies and connect the greater community to healthcare.
In view of this, the role of midwives in our fight against maternal mortality cannot be overemphasized. I once again congratulate Hajia Mary on behalf of all Ghanaian women and entreat other midwives to emulate her example and play an active part in the figtht against maternal mortality.
Madam Speaker, at the last Sitting of the Pan-Africa Parliament in South Africa, Members were urged to appeal to their various Governments to increase the budgets of their Ministries of Health by at least 15 per cent to enable them intensify the figtht against maternal mortality.
In conclusion, we must recognize as a nation that, improving maternal health is an important indicator for monitoring socio-economic development and even though, the ambitious goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent by the year 2015 presents a formidable challenge, it is achievable, but only, through concerted and sustained efforts.
Finally, Madam Speaker, no woman should die while giving Life because the death of a mother during child birth may shorten the life of the new born baby.
Thank you, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity.