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Health News of Thursday, 3 March 2016

Source: GNA

Religious laws impede safe abortion campaign - NGO

Religious bodies were impediment to safe abortion campaign, Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), a Non-governmental Organisation said on Tuesday.

He said certain beliefs in Islam and Christianity frowned on the use of contraceptives, and also did not endorse safe abortion and other reproductive health care services.

The Chief Executive Officer of the anti corruption, human rights and media advocacy organization, said until something was done about these religious beliefs, the safe abortion campaign would not yield the desired results.

Mr Ahenu made this known when Madam Elordie Brandamir, an official of the Wise Development Limited, a UK development organization paid a working visit to the head office of the NGO in Sunyani.

Madam Brandamir was at the GLOMEF’s office to evaluate progress of a three year-project being implemented by the NGO in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

Dubbed Advocating for young women access to safe abortion and contraceptives in Ghana, the project was being funded by the Safe Abortion Fund (SAAF) at the cost of 128,000 dollars.

It is aimed at helping girls and young women in the Region to access safe abortion and contraceptive services.

Mr Ahenu said unsafe abortion was prevalent and that it killed many young girls in the country, and indicated that because of the religious myths attached to abortion, girls failed to go for safe abortion services when they got pregnant.

“These pregnant girls hide under the carpet, prepare and apply local herbs and concoctions to terminate their pregnancies,” Mr Ahenu stated.

He observed that whilst Ghana’s abortion law was considered relatively liberal, inaccessibility to safe services coupled with some outmoded traditional values, social perception and religious teachings had created a situation whereby quacks and charlatan doctors carried out majority of the abortions in clandestine and dangerous ways.

Mr Ahenu said although abortions were legal in Ghana, only four per cent of Ghanaian women were aware and as a result unsafe abortions were widely carried out, making it one of the major causes of maternal deaths in the country.

He said the project was being implemented in 21 communities and 14 junior and senior high schools in seven districts and municipalities in the Region.

The project also sought to increase awareness among young girls both in and out-of-school, Mr Ahenu added.

The beneficiary areas are Sunyani, Kintampo North, Techiman, Wenchi and Dormaa Municipalities as well as Jaman South and Tano North.

Madam Brandamir said she was impressed about the implementation of the project which would end in 2017.

She commended the media for helping the project to achieve its set goals.