The 2022 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) shows the country has made significant progress in improving maternal and child health over the past decade, but gaps persist in reducing infant and maternal mortality rates.
The survey, conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service, revealed key findings on maternal and child health and malaria prevalence based on data collected from over 18,000 households nationwide.
Speaking at the dissemination of the GDHS maternal and child health report on Wednesday in Accra, Deputy Government Statistician Dr Faustina Frempong-Ainguah, said under-five mortality has declined from 80 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 47 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022.
The infant mortality rate has also dropped from 41 to 29 deaths per 1,000 live births over the same period.
“This decrease in child mortality is encouraging and indicates our investments in healthcare access, immunisations, nutrition and education for mothers are paying dividends,” said Dr. Frempong-Ainguah.
However, Ghana still falls short of the Sustainable Development Goal targets of reducing under-five mortality to 25 deaths per 1,000 live births and infant mortality to 12 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030.
On maternal health, Dr Frempong-Ainguah noted that the survey showed maternal mortality has decreased from 380 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014 to 310 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2022 but remains higher than the SDG target of less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births.
She added that while more pregnant women are receiving antenatal care and delivering in health facilities compared to a decade ago, quality of care remains a challenge, bemoaning that only 58% of deliveries were assisted by a skilled provider, far below the goal of 90% coverage.
“As a nation, we must accelerate our efforts to ensure all mothers have access to quality, respectful care before, during and after pregnancy. This is vital not just to save lives but to secure the health and prosperity of future generations,” said Dr. Frempong-Ainguah.
On malaria, the survey indicated some success in malaria prevention, with 79% of households having at least one insecticide-treated net. However, only half of children under five were reported to have slept under a net the previous night.
As Ghana aims to eliminate malaria by 2030 in line with global targets, experts stressed the need to scale up long-lasting insecticidal net use and access to prompt diagnosis and treatment, particularly for vulnerable groups.
“While we celebrate the strides made, we cannot become complacent. Our work is not done until no child dies from a preventable cause and no mother’s life is lost while giving life,” Dr. Frempong-Ainguah emphasised.
The 2022 GDHS provides decision-makers with vital data to track progress, identify priority areas and inform strategies to accelerate maternal and child health. Continued investments in quality healthcare services and public health interventions remain critical to ensure Ghana’s women and children can survive and thrive.
Richard Aniagyei, ISD