Pito is said to contain as much alcohol to cause expectant women take the drink to deliver way ahead of time.
The Head of the Newborn Care Unit in the region Dr Gillian Bogee told Accra-based Starr FM that the increase in the number of premature babies is worrying.
“It’s quite alarming. In a day, we can get up to two preterm babies in the region. Usually, when they come to the hospital, you ask them. I wouldn’t talk about smoking, because hardly would you see our women smoking in this part of the country. But when you ask them, do you drink alcohol, they will say ‘No’.”
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“But when you ask them, ‘Do you take pito?’ They say ‘Yes’. ‘So, how many calabashes of pito do you take in a day?’ They can tell you, ‘Maybe four, maybe five or maybe every day I do take two calabashes of pito’. And that also contains alcohol. And that can also be the reason why they are having these preterm deliveries in the region,” she said.
Dr Bogee was speaking at a durbar organised by Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA), a non-governmental organisation into maternal and child health promotion, at Sumbrungu, to mark the World Prematurity Day in the region.
She admitted that other factors can also cause premature birth.
“Vaginal infections can also trigger a woman giving birth to a preterm baby. So far, the teenagers are dominating; the teenagers are quite more [among mothers with premature babies]. Women with domestic violence, long standing hours, women that go to the farm working all day, stress— all these things can lead to [preterm deliveries]. If you are someone who has ever given birth to a preterm baby before, the tendency of you having a preterm baby is also possible.”
Pito is a brownish beverage. It is referred to as the ‘palm wine’ of the North and best sipped from a dry calabash.
It is said to contain as much alcohol to cause expectant women conssume it to deliver way ahead of time.