Health News of Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Source: GNA

Unsafe abortion rife in Ghana

Unsafe abortion among girls is rife in the country, a report by the Ministry of Health has revealed.

According to the Adolescent Health and Development Programme Report of the ministry, 16,182 girls went through unsafe abortion in 2011, 10,785 in 2010 and 8,717 in 2009.

Mr. Raphael Godlove Ahenu, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Media Foundation, a human right and anti-corruption media non-governmental organisation (NGO) made this known on Monday.

He was speaking at a briefing in Sunyani to sensitise participants on a three-year project the NGO is implementing in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

Dubbed “Advocating for young women access to safe abortion and contraceptives in Ghana,” the project being funded by the Safe Abortion Fund (IPPF), at the cost of 128,000 dollars, aimed at helping girls and young women in the region to access safe abortion and contraceptive services.

Mr. Ahenu said unsafe abortion accounted for 15 per cent of maternal deaths in Ghana and impeding the country’s efforts at achieving Millennium Development Goals four and five, which is primarily aimed at reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent by 2015.

He observed that whilst Ghana’s abortion law is 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 are legal in Ghana, only four percent of Ghanaian women are aware, and as a result, unsafe abortions are widely carried out, making it one of the major causes of maternal deaths in the country.

He said it is against this background that the NGO sought the support from the IPPF to implement the project in 21 communities and 14 junior and senior high schools in seven districts and municipalities in the region.

The project also seeks 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 Districts.