Health News of 2013-12-05

Some health providers behind death of women

The Acting Medical Director of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital Dr Abdul Razak Dokurugo has blamed the death of some women and girls in the Upper East Region and other parts of the country on what he described as the adamant behavior of some health care providers. Dr Razak made the observation at the weekly meeting of the Regional Health Management Team in Bolgatanga. The Acting Medical Director who was responding to concerns of maternal mortality in the region said at a time the Ministry of Health, and the Ghana Health Service together with other collaborators are making frantic efforts to stop the needless deaths of women and girls through pregnancy and child birth, victims of unwanted pregnancies who by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service policies are entitled to comprehensive abortion services are being turned away on daily basis by some health care providers, a behavior which is noted to fuel unsafe abortion and contributing to maternal mortality. He said unsafe abortion is about the second highest cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in the country a reason for which clear policy guidelines regarding how health service providers whose faith or belief system does not support abortion services can help avoid and prevent unsafe abortion without compromising their principles. He revealed that the law of consensual refusal which permits a service provider to refuse a client a particular service or range of services if the provider deems that service or those services as contravening their principles or belief system the same law also enjoins them to as a matter of principle on refusing the service should endeavor to direct the client to the nearest place where they know the client can have access to the service. Dr Razak who is also an advocate for reproductive health and a member of Global Doctors for Choice(GDC) Ghana chapter pointed out that comprehensive abortion care comes under the health care service package considered as essential service by the Ghana Service and expressed surprise that even though the laws of Ghana permit safe abortion under a considerable range of factors some organizations and individuals involved in the provision of health care are willingfully obstructing access to these fundamental right by women and girls leading to some of them taking their destiny into their own hands and turning to crude methods and the services of Quacks with some dying and many others suffering harm and disabilities. He lamented that the hypocritical attitude where people know that abortion care is a compelling need and yet stigmatize women who seek the services plays a major role in creating fertile ground for some professionals and quacks to charge exorbitant prices for services that are actually affordable and available under the mainstream health system in the country. Dr Razak implored the Ministry and the Ghana Health service and all health collaborators to work harder to identify ways to improve collaboration among all partners to give women and girls better access to reproductive health services. The Acting Regional Director of Health services, Mr. Lucio G. Dery said the Regional Health Directorate would take steps to ensure compliance with the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) the service recently signed with faith based health care providers parts of which prohibits them from doing anything that run contrary to the policies and regulations of the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health. He also disclosed that the Regional Health Directorate was strengthening sensitization at community level about the importance of reproduction health services including family planning while ensuring strict implementation of maternal death audit recommendations some of which include the holding of durbars at institutions and communities to address all factors that are found to play a role in maternal death.