Health News of Saturday, 2 June 2012
Source: Mathias Aboba-Bolgatanga
Story: Mathias Aboba-Bolgatanga
Study has shown that contraceptives use among women of child bearing age in the Upper East Region is ridiculously low despite wide knowledge of various types and benefits of contraceptives among the population.
A population expert and research scientist Dr Ayaga Bawah of Columbia University in the US is behind the study. Dr Bawah disclosed this at a conference of Researchers and Journalists recently held at the Navrongo Health Research Center.
Throwing more light on the research findings he said the study which covered 5, 511 women in seven rural districts in the region excluding Kasena Nankana East and West districts and Bolgatanga Municipality revealed that only 13 per cent of women surveyed were using modern contraceptives.
Interestingly about 19 % of those who reported not using contraceptives at the time of the survey wished they did not have children anymore whiles 36% of the non users indicated that they wanted to space the birth of their children.
Dr Bawah added that the reality on the ground is contradictory as it is difficult to tell why knowledge of the benefits and types of contraceptives among the population does not translate to wide acceptance rate and use of modern methods of contraceptives.
The study done forms part of baseline survey of a Columbia University collaborated Health programme known as Ghana Essential Health Intervention Programme(GEHIP) which is being piloted in three districts in the region. The programme supports the scale up of the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme to increase access to integrated primary services.
It also seeks to give new dimension to local budgeting and resource application using burden of disease data with an evidence need-based planning tool call the District Health Planning and Reporting Toolkit (DiHPART). Other interventions introduced by GEHIP include simplified health information management tools, as well as leadership development and capacity building initiatives.
The ultimate aim of the programme among other things is to test the impact of comprehensive packages of proven interventions for strengthening health systems on the MDGs.
Dr Bawah further observed that although Ghana was the first country in Sub- Saharan Africa to adopt family planning fertility rate is still relatively high with most women using modern contraceptives being guided by intentions to space but not to limit child bearing.
He was emphatic that the results of his study imply a potentially high latent demand which if mobilised could increase contraceptive use rate in this impoverished region of northern Ghana. The outcome of the survey also suggests that the promotion of family planning should address the need for convenience, safe and effective methods of spacing child birth.
The conference of researchers and journalists was an initiative of the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Programme in collaboration with the Navrongo Health Research Center, University of Ghana School of Public Health, and Columbia University.
The conference was organized to offer Ghanaian Journalists and Researchers the opportunity to discuss important public health issues in Ghana and how to get the information to a wider audience in order raise awareness, create political will and drive policy change and action at the community through national levels.