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Social worker advocates comprehensive reproductive health policy
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Health News of Thursday, 29 May 2008

Source: GNA

Social worker advocates comprehensive reproductive health policy

Accra, May 29, GNA- A social worker has called for the formulation of a comprehensive reproductive health policy to ensure healthy and resourceful population for national development. Professor James Annorbah-Sarpei, Executive Director of Centre for Community Studies Action and Development (CENCOSAD), a community development non-governmental organization (NGO), urged policymakers and government to incorporate reproductive health rights into development programmes.

He indicated that even though government was making serious efforts at improving health care delivery, there was the need to intensify the promotion of reproductive health rights to help reduce child and maternal mortality in the country.

Prof. Annorbah-Sarpie, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, advised expectant mothers to regularly visit health facilities for antenatal care and parents to ensure good child care towards the proper growth and development of children. He noted that government alone could not promote reproductive health rights and urged other stakeholders including married couples, community leaders, NGOs and health service providers to join in any such campaign.

Prof. Annorbah-Sarpie said the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), comprising some rights-based NGOs, was executing the Alliance for Reproductive Health Project (ARHP), to complement government efforts, towards the promotion of reproductive health rights in the country. He said the group sought to make operational the rights-based approach to the delivery of sexual reproductive health services and information to women of reproductive age and young people in particularly under-served communities. Prof. Annorbah-Sarpie explained that the process would strengthen the capacity of member NGOs and other actors in sexual reproductive health activities to enable them to deliver effective services..

Prof. Annorbah-Sarpei said the ARHP had conducted a community health care infrastructure base line survey in the northern, middle and southern parts of the country to establish bench marks for monitoring health care delivery in districts and community where the project was being implemented.

He said the ARHR was working to improve information on reproductive rights to enable people to make informed choices concerning their reproductive health.

According to the social worker, the group would also work with traditional leaders to discourage harmful cultural practices that infringed on the sexual reproductive rights of people. Prof Annorbah-Sarpei said the ARHR also aimed at deepening the understanding of how socio-cultural and traditional practices, legislations and policies affect the reproductive health of the people and to set in motion a process of change.

He said the group also aimed at empowering priority beneficiary groups to enable them to know and demand their rights to sexual reproductive health services and information as well as having the capacity to assess the quality of service, access and exercise options. Prof Annorbah-Sarpei said it also sought to optimize resource application by complementing the work of government agencies in sexual reproductive health service delivery and information. He said the project was being implemented at Juabeso and Takoradi in the Western Region, Cape Coast and Elmina in the Central Region, Dodowa and Amasaman and Accra in the Greater Accra Region and Hohoe in the Volta Region on pilot bases. Prof Annorbah-Sarpei said the group was working in collaboration with zonal coordinating NGOs, including CENCOSAD and Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC). He said the ARHR, rights based group, has been working in the country on sexual and reproductive issues since 1995. 29 May 08

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