A group photograph of participants at the conference
A Specialist Pediatrician at the Department of
Child Health at the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Dr.Joan Efua Tuko Woode has
indicated that out of 4,758 admissions at the Department of Child health, the
Hospital recorded 411 cases of neonatal jaundice (NNJ) in newborn babies representing
nine per cent of admissions in 2019.
The figure represents a sharp drop from the
condition as compared to 2015 (11 per cent) where the hospital recorded a total
of 595 cases of NNJ with 22 diagnoses of acute bilirubin encephalopathy.
She made this known at a Jaundice Awareness
Conference organized by Africa Health Supplies (AHS) in Accra.
Mrs. Woode added that NNJ occurred when there was
a break down of the red blood cell, infection, enclosed bleeds, enzyme defects
and blood group incompatibility (ABO, Rhesus).
Mrs. Tuko Woode urged parents to desist from the
practice of resorting to home remedies such as putting children under direct
sunlight as against taking children to hospitals for further diagnosis and
She explained that “NNJ is best treated when
detected early which will prevent death and permanent disability with the use
of phototherapy machine as well as exchange of blood transfusion.”
Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, former Director General
of Ghana Health Service, disclosed that it was important to detect jaundice
early enough for monitoring and treatment.
He added that “if mothers detect NNJ early,
treatment would be given to the child.”
Dr. Asare noted that every district hospital and
regional hospital must have laboratory facility to help diagnose and monitor
the detection of NNJ.
He added that everybody connected to child
health care, especially midwives, nurses and doctors should help detect jaundice
for treatment as quickly as possible on the infant.
He also advised that mothers must be educated on
NNJ for prevention.
Dr. Isabella Sagoe-Moses, Ag. Director, Family
Health Division of Ghana Health Service on her part stated that there was a national
newborn strategy and action plan for the year (2019-2023) which was aimed at
contributing to the reduction of neonatal mortality rate from 25 per 1000 live
births in 2017 to 18 per1000 live births in 2023.
She added that the action plan would again contribute
to the reduction of institutional total still birth rate from 15 per 1000 (1.5%)
of total birth in 2017 to 10 per 1000 (1%) of total births in 2023 as well as a
reduction of fresh (intrapartum) stillbirth rate from 60% of total stillbirths
in 2017 to 40% total stillbirth in 2023.
By Asieduwaa Mary