Dr. Amma Benin, Head of the Paediatric Department at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) has encouraged women to visit a gynecologist once they plan of bringing forth children to prepare them for pregnancy.
“A preconception checkup helps the medical officers to make sure that your body is ready for pregnancy and prepares you both physically, emotionally, and psychologically to prepare for the pregnancy.
“It also helps to put an end to some unhealthy practices that have the potential to cause health problems for both mother and baby,” Dr. Benin stated.
Dr Benin stated at weekly “Your Health! Our Concern! A Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative aimed at promoting communication on health-related and setting the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy.
“Your Health! Our Concern! is a public health advocacy platform initiated by the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office to explore the parameters of the four approaches to health communication: informative, educating, persuasive, and prompting.
Speaking on the topic: “Child Defect,” Dr. Benin explained that birth defects are structural changes present at birth that can affect almost any part or parts of the body heart, brain, and foot”.
It may reflect how the body looks, works, or both. Birth defects can vary from mild to severe, she said.
She said when such defects were detected during pregnancy, interventions could be put in place and the parents also receive counselling on what to do with their baby.
The IMaH Medical Officer explained that certain diseases like urinary tract infections, high sugar levels, and high blood pressure among other diseases which can cause birth defects would be checked and cured before a woman decides to get pregnant to deliver a healthy child.
Also, the nutritional status and the general well-being of women will be monitored to make sure that the woman is fully ready and safe to carry pregnancy.
Dr. Benin stressed that when women attend pre-pregnancy care, they are encouraged to start folic acid supplementation which would prevent birth defects.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager explained that “Your Health! Our Concern” seeks to leverage Ghana News Agency’s communication expertise together with the health professional skills to educate the public to understand that the health of everyone matters and should be the concern of all.
He said parents’ health should be the concern of children and vice versa, employees’ health should be the concern of employers, and in general, Health professionals’ health should be the concern of the public, while the reverse should also hold.