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Health News of Sunday, 24 May 2015

Source: GNA

Ghana gearing up to improve contraceptive growth rate

Dr. Philomena Nyarko, Government Statistician has expressed the need for Ghana to do more to improve contraceptive growth rates (CPR) in light of the increase in total fertility rates.

She was speaking at a validation meeting on 'Contraceptive Prevalence Rates-Goals and Targets for Ghana', organised by a joint Secretariat comprising the Ministry of Health, National Population Council and the Ghana Health Service.

Dr Nyarko noted that population growth if unchecked, has implications for a country's development thus the need to increase the use of contraceptives to satisfy people's demand for family planning services.

She said although Ghana's fertility rate has been lowered from 6.4 births per woman in 1988 to 4.0 births per woman in 2008, the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey has shown a reverse in the trend; recording a figure of 4.2 births per woman.

"The trend is reversing, which is not what we want and so the country has to find set new targets for contraceptive prevalence so that we will be able to achieve our goal of having about 50 per cent prevalence by 2035," she said.

Dr Nyarko said it is necessary in order to reap the demographic dividend of Ghana young population.

In light of this, the validation meeting sought to define specific goals for improving the CPR by discussing various scenarios and choosing an appropriate one with its corresponding goals, based on which a costed implementation plan would be developed as well methods appropriate in achieving those goals.

Participants at the meeting were presented with three national goal scenarios for 2015 to 2020 to 2035 by the project consultants, futures group: maintaining current trends, achieving a medium progress scenario and a high progress scenario.

The meeting agreed to adopt the medium progress scenario since Ghana could not continue with the current trend of CPR rates for married and unmarried women, with some additional efforts to reach unmarried sexually active women.

This, has led to the meeting of approximately 75 percent of total demand in 2014 for married and unmarried women by 2035 and could not also realistically achieve the high progress scenario of significantly increasing CPR growth rate for married women and even higher for unmarried women to reach the 2014 total demand level of 56.6 percent modern CPR for married women and 86.7 percent for unmarried women.

The participants agreed that the method mix that would be implemented to achieve the goals of the scenario should focus on encouraging women to use more long term methods of family planning such intrauterine devices , implants, injections and pills while reducing other traditional methods such as withdrawal and the use of Moonbeads.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director of Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service said government is currently working including family planning in the National Health Insurance Scheme.