Ipas Ghana, Gender Ministry advocates for safe abortion legality; discusses measures to reduce unsafe abortion in Ghana
In partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection; Ipas Ghana over the weekend hosted a round table discussion on women-centered comprehensive abortion care in Ghana themed, ‘Are women’s lives worth saving?’ at Tang Palace Hotel, Accra.
The Ghanaian culture frowns on practices like sex before marriage, abortion, and multiple marriages, a few to mention; these are rather common practices in the Ghanaian society. Focusing on abortion, most women have opted to causing unsafe abortions which lead to disabilities and health problems due to their inability to access or afford reproductive health service.
Ipas Ghana, to this effect seeks to take into account the various factors that influence a woman’s health needs (physical and mental) as well as her personal circumstances and her ability to access services.
With a handful of women who experience spontaneous abortion (miscarriage); about ¾ of adolescent girls have unsafe abortion whiles only ¼ undergo safe abortion.
Stating the purpose of the forum, Ipas Ghana’s Country Director, Dr Koma Jehu-Appiah indicated in his presentation, “due to ignorance, many unsafe abortions have lead to death, and the major causes of unsafe abortion can be attributed to religious believes, partner pressure/ denied pregnancies, sexual coercions, rape or sexual abuse, stigmatization, desire to delay childbearing and restrictive abortion laws and policies.”
“The end results of undergoing an unsafe abortion methods- douching and taking dangerous doses of drugs to terminate pregnancy includes disabilities and health problems like infertility due to incomplete abortion; infections, haemorrhage, psychological trauma, etc.,” he added.
He further advised that although abortion is not accepted in the Ghanaian society yet it is highly practiced, it should be done the safest way to avoid all aftermath consequences.
Addressing participants; guest speaker- former Deputy Director, Ghana Health Service; Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa stated reasons for high rate of maternal deaths including Anaemia, poor attendance of antenatal and the inability to understand and comprehend effects of unsafe abortion on woman’s lives.
Others speakers at the event included Program Manager of Ipas Ghana, Dr Pearl Allottey; Senior Ob/Gyn Consultant, Korle-Bu, Dr James Boachie; and Community Access Advisor of Ipas Ghana, Mr Selorme Kofi Azumah.
Participants of this initiative included Chief Imam of Islamic Religious leader, Chief Baba Issa of MFCS; Queen mother of Kaneshie Traditional area, Naa Koteitsoo Afrasomanso also of Ipas Ghana; Obonu FM’s Naa Lartetsoo; Professor Afua Hesse of ACM, UGSMD; Dr James Boakye of KBTH; MUSIGA Administrator, Ahuma Ocansey Bosco; Musician, Mzbel; and Afia Schwarzenegger, host of Aben Waha and Kokooko show on Kasapa FM and UTV respectively.
Ipas Ghana is a global non-governmental organization dedicated to ending preventable deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortion. It also seeks to compliment government’s efforts in addressing women’s reproductive health rights through education, training of health service providers, and equipping facilities.
It also engages stakeholders on reproductive health and rights issues to help reduce maternal mortality and morbidity as prescribed by MDG5.