50,000 babies per year die from birth asphyxia, according to the Ghana Health Service

asphyxia - Rapid News GH

In Ghana, about 50,000 newborns pass away from birth asphyxia each year.

Dr. Edward Antwi, the Ghana Health Service‘s Programme Manager for Newborn and Child Health, said the number could be higher because the statistics may not have included some cases involving home deliveries and cases outside of established medical institutions.

When a baby’s brain and other organs do not receive enough oxygen and nutrients before, during, or immediately after birth, birth asphyxia occurs.

It might occur in the womb prior to birth, causing stillbirths, or during protracted labor.

According to Dr. Antwi, Ghana averages one million births each year. However, the country now has a newborn mortality rate of 17 per 1,000 live births, which translates to 170,000 deaths for every million births, 30% of which are due to birth asphyxia.

As part of efforts to lower neonatal mortality, stakeholders in neonatal care and child health are discussing ways to reduce neonatal deaths nationwide, particularly cases of asphyxia.

The 11th annual national newborns conference, which began in Cape Coast last Tuesday, had about 100 participants who discussed topics like lowering the prevalence of asphyxia, improving sick newborn care at referral district hospitals, and assisting newly born asphyxiated babies in surviving, among others.


As part of its “Imagine Ghana without Birth” theme, the conference will also cover the effects of neonatal fatalities on families and the function of leadership in newborn care.

About 30% of all babies in Ghana die from birth asphyxia, according to Dr. Antwi, even though we do not yet know the full magnitude of the problem.

He said that many ladies gave birth at home in numerous areas of the nation but were not counted.

To effectively lower infant mortality nationwide, he urged hospitals to be well-equipped.

“A number of hospitals, especially the lower level facilities, don’t have what it takes to take care of the mothers and the babies,” the speaker stated.

Dr. Antwi claimed that the degree of dedication among health professionals was a contributing factor in the issue and recommended they increase their level of commitment in order to deliver effective and fast healthcare.

lowering neonatal fatalities

The Central Regional Director of Health, Dr. Akosua Sarpong, read a remark on behalf of the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in which he stressed the importance of a newborn’s first hour.

Although there is still work to be done to reach the desired 12 per 1,000 live births, the Minister noted the decrease in neonatal fatalities to 17 per 1,000 live births was remarkable.

He stated that some of the factors contributing to newborn asphyxia deaths included inadequate staffing and equipment, delayed referrals, and inadequate breastfeeding instruction.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu mentioned the Ministry of Health’s commitment to striving to further reduce newborn mortality and asked managers and healthcare professionals to work effectively together to lower the prevalence of birth asphyxia.

He expressed gratitude to the collaborators for their ongoing assistance in raising health indicators on behalf of the ministry.

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