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Health News of Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Source: GNA

Government asked to enforce law on abortion

Accra, Nov. 19, GNA - Dr. Koma Jehu Appiah the Country Director of Ipas Ghana, an NGO, on Wednesday called for the enforcement of the abortion law to control the rate of unsafe abortion. He observed that, although the abortion law was passed in 1985, 30 per cent of maternal mortality in the country were due to unsafe abortion because most Ghanaians pretended it did not exist and called for its accessibility to any one who needed it.

Dr Jehu-Appiah was speaking at an advocacy training programme in Accra for 50 selected young female student leaders, on "Maternal Mortality and Sexual Reproductive Health Right", organised by Ghana Women's Voice in partnership, an NGO and Ipas.

He said the law should deal drastically with men who sexually exploited women leading to the termination of unwanted pregnancies. Dr Jehu-Appiah attributed the increase in unsafe abortions to religious and cultural beliefs, which compelled pregnant women to terminate the pregnancy to avoid public ridicule. Dr. Jehu Appiah called for the encouragement of safe abortion at medical facilities to reduce maternal mortality and the inclusion of family planning commodities such as contraceptives and free medical care for rape victims under the National Health Insurance Scheme. He suggested the need for the strengthening of partnerships between government and NGO's aimed at funding and improving sexual and reproductive health programmes. Dr Jehu-Appiah urged women to insist on the use of contraceptives for sex.

Mrs Afua Ofori- Atta, a pharmacist said Sexual and Reproductive Health was now a developmental issue of major importance in Ghana because one person dies out of every 16 unsafe abortions. Dr. Robert Mensah, a medical practitioner, said between 1998 to 2006, access to health facilities increased by 10 per cent, however inadequate infrastructure such as surgical theatre and skilled manpower remained some of the setbacks in most district hospitals. 19 Nov. 08

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