Participants at a seminar on the dissemination of a research report on the abortion situation in Ghana have called for increased public education on the country’s abortion law
This, they argued, was necessary to give mothers confidence to seek safe abortion of unwanted pregnancies and thereby reduce maternal mortality.
The research, conducted by Guttmacher, a United States-based health research and education organization in year 2008, studied Ghana’s unsafe abortion situation with a view to identifying effective ways of dealing with this.
The seminar provided the opportunity to discuss the findings with stakeholders in Kumasi.
The participants were mostly from NGOs and civil society groups in the health and reproductive health sector, the Ghana Education Service, prisons service, media, faith-based organizations and the youth.
They said the lack of adequate information about the abortion law among majority of Ghanaians had been responsible for the adoption of unsafe abortion methods resulting in severe health complications and deaths.
It is estimated that, 20 per cent of maternal mortality in the country is caused by unsafe abortion.
Dr Joana Nerguaye-Tetteh, presenting the report, said if care was not taken, deaths from unsafe abortions could surpass that of HIV/AIDS.
She warned that given the situation where more women were not using contraceptives, unwanted pregnancies certainly would occur and the likelihood of unsafe abortions would be higher.
Dr Nerguaye-Tetteh appealed to NGOs and civil society groups in the health sector to intensify their education campaigns in communities to create awareness on the use of contraceptives to raise the acceptance rate.
Mrs Josephine Addy, Programme Associate of Ipas, an NGO, said more women resorted to unsafe abortions because of ignorance of the legal regime.
Ipas, which is operating in 17 districts in the Eastern, Ashanti and greater Accra regions, is supporting the Ghana Health Service to provide a Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC).
Mrs Addy said unsafe abortion has now become a social problem and that her organization was engaging various stakeholders including queens, parliamentary select committee on health and population, women commissions in tertiary institutions, lawyers, journalists and the police service to enhance stakeholders’ support for safe abortion.