More than one-in-ten pregnancy-related deaths in Ghana are as a result of unsafe abortions. In addition, 13% of Ghanaian women who have had an abortion, experienced complications linked to unsafe procedure(s). That’s according to Ghana Maternal Health Survey.
The 2007 Ghana Maternal Health Survey (GMHS) says at least 7% of all pregnancies in Ghana end in abortion whilst 15% of women aged 15 to 49 admitted to having had an abortion.
The Executive Director of an NGO, Global Hand on Natural Environmental Care (GHANECare), Richard Kuunaah shared the statistics at the launching and training program known as Increasing Young People[s]Awareness on Safe Abortion Services in Ghana (IYPASAS) at Jirapa in the Upper West Region.
In this write-up, GBCs Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo says that the 12-month project is directed at reducing maternal deaths as well as increasing access to sexual and reproductive health rights in Ghana.
The 40-thousand-Euro project targets 80 young women to be trained as Community-Based Safe Abortion Advocates in two Municipalities, Jirapa in Upper West and Atebubu-Amantin in the Bono-Ahafo Region. Each beneficiary Municipality will have 40 advocates.
The Executive Director of GHANECare, Richard Kuunaah thanked Mannion Daniel Limited and AmplifyChange of UK for supporting a worthy cause.
He regretted our cultural values and socio-religious backgrounds influence us on how we relate to the issue of safe abortion, saying illegal abortion contributes significantly to maternal deaths.
The Jirapa Municipal Director of Health Services, Florence Angsomwine announced that “last year , the Municipality recorded five maternal deaths and three of them were adolescents.
She called for a collective effort in tackling maternal health and said: fortunately this year, we are fighting and God being so lovely and [with] the help of all stakeholders, we have some few days for the year  to end, we have recorded zero maternal deaths”.
Madam Angsomwine expressed some sentiments about maternal mortality: It is very painful for a woman to park her bag to the hospital to be delivered of a baby and only to come back in a coffin or people carrying her lifeless body to go and bury.
The joy that is in the family becomes sadness and this is very painful. This is something nobody will like to hear of, or no family will like to see that.
She said unsafe abortions are associated with complications and advised young people to choose safe abortion services in the event of an unwanted pregnancy.
Madam Angsomwine gave an assurance that the Jirapa Municipal Health Directorate will give the project needed assistance throughout the 12-month implementation period to ensure zero maternal death in the Municipality.
A Deputy Coordinating Director of the Jiripa Municipal Assembly, Timothy Anafu commended GHANECare and the local Directorate of Health for the collaboration aimed at up-scaling the awareness of young people on reproductive health rights and unsafe abortions.
He pointed out that the project will also help prevent maternal deaths, especially those associated illegal abortions.
Mr. Anafu was excited that AmplifyChange and Mannion Daniel Limited of UK have supported Global Hand on Natural Environmental Care financially and technically to share what he termed the work load of the Assembly in the health sector which is one of the Assemblys three thematic areas of interest.
Topics treated at the twin-event were: Safe Abortion and Cultural Norms; Access to Sexual and Reproductive rights and Ghana Law; and Basic Advocacy Skills on Safe Abortion.
Story and pictures by Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo