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West Afr J Med. 1998 Apr-Jun;17(2):58-63.

Referrals for obstetrical complications from Ejisu district, Ghana.

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  • 1Kumasi Prevention of Maternal Mortality (PMM) Team School of Medical Sciences, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.


A study of referrals due to obstetrical complications from the Ejisu district, Ashanti region, Ghana was done to determine the institutions that receive them, their outcome and the effectiveness of the referral system. This formed part of a multidisciplinary research on the prevention of maternal mortality in the district. It covered 15 health facilities in the district. The receiving institutions identified in the study were Komfo Anokye teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Agogo Presbyterian Hospital in the neighbouring Ashanti Akim district and the St. Michael's Hospital at Pramso in the same district. In the period under review, there were 192 referrals from the district, 139 to KATH with 87 (63%) reporting, 19 to Pramso with 14 (74%) reporting and 34 to Agogo with 17 (50%) reporting. The 3 most important complications referred were maternal haemorrhage (29%), high-risk pregnancy (24%) and delayed second stage (21%). The referring institutions had a defaulting rate varying from 8-56% with a median of 42%. This study did not specifically investigate the factors influencing the high defaulting rates in some institutions. However, focus-group discussions (FGDs) held in selected communities revealed the following factors as inhibiting the utilization of health services: * prohibitive hospital fees; * illegal fees and bribes; * irregular transport and uncooperative drivers; * poor and unmotorable roads; * lack of drugs and essential supplies and; * negative staff attitudes. Those health facilities with low defaulting rates had their own transport or were close to major trunk roads. From the study, the referral system was very weak. It is also possible that some of the referrals reported at the receiving institutions but were not classified as such. Interventions to improve the situation are currently being implemented.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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