It is a taboo for women to give birth to babies or even menstruate in Dove, a town in the Mafi Traditional Area of the Central Tongu District. As such, those expecting their menstruation and pregnant women in labour are by whatever possible means carried out of the town. They only return after delivery or after their menses have stopped.
This revelation was made by Dr Joseph Nuertey, the Volta Regional Medical Superintendent, when he delivered the regional State of Health Care speech during the first general meeting of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs (VRHC) at Ho.
Dr Nuertey lamented that because of the age-old taboo, all efforts by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to establish a health facility that handles births and other issues had proven futile. He added that the taboo also forbade the burial of the dead in the town.
The medical superintendent, therefore, appealed to the VRHC to use their good offices to appease the gods in the area to lift the taboo. Dr Nuertey's revelation left the traditional rulers dumbfounded.
This prompted the Paramount Chief of the Battor Traditional Area, Togbega Patamia Dzekley VII, to say that he would immediately contact the chief and elders of Dove to see what could be done to resolve the issue.
In most circumstances, it is the women, who are mostly farmers, that nurture children until maturity. According to the medical superintendent, he has been told that the gods of the town frown on anybody who flouts the taboo.
Dr Nuertey announced that maternal mortality in the region continued to be too high, a fact that he attributed to an inadequate number of medical personnel and facilities in the region.
He regretted that although 70 per cent of medical doctors, including dentists in the country, were from the region, only a few of them were willing to accept postings to their home region.
"For instance, none of the 11 doctors and dentists who were posted to the region last year turned up," he noted. For that matter, the region had only 83 doctors and dentists manning the over 378 health facilities in the region, a figure he lamented as woefully inadequate.
He called for collective efforts of all, including the chiefs, to pursuade medical practitioners and other health staff to come back home and take care of their kith and kin.