Ms Selina Bentoom, the Executive Director of African Foundation for Premature Babies and Neonatal Care (Afpnc), has said there is the need to resource all public Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) to expand their capacities to meet the growing needs of the society.
She said it is also important to increase awareness and communication on prematurity among expected mothers during their antenatal care in order to reduce the misconception and stigma associated with preterm births.
Ms Bentoom said this during a forum organized by Afpnc to mark this year’s International Women’s Day celebration at the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital.
The forum which, is the first to be held in the region, was attended by preterm mothers, expectant mothers, women leaders, medical personnel and opinion leaders, was held under the theme: ‘Pressing for change to improve women’s health-the case of preterm mothers’.
She said the forum was to focus on milestones achieved and challenges in women’s health with specific focus on mothers of preterm and sick babies in neonatal intensive care units.
Ms Bentoom said prematurity remains a major cause of deaths among new-borns in in the country.
She said with the 130,100 babies born per year, 8260 die due to various complication and stressed the need for the government and other stakeholders to refurbish governmental NICUs to help reduce the death of preterm babies.
Ms Bentoom also called on non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to assist the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital NICU to meet the high demands on the facility.
‘The journey through preterm birth, nursing a baby in the NICU and after care are traumatic and economically challenging for mothers and families’.
Mrs Gifty Eugenia Kusi, Deputy Western Regional Minister, said the Regional Coordinating Council was committed to ensure that the health care needs of the region are addressed adding that a committee has been put in place to come up with pragmatic measures to speed up the refurbishment and upgrading of the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital.
Mrs Kusi commended the staff of the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital for their hard work and urged them to work harder to win the confidence of the people who patronise the facility.
The occasion was used to donate 20 student mattresses to the NICU of the Hospital as well as bath kits for mothers and babies on admission at the facility.
By Justina Paaga GNA