Health News of 2014-06-30

NGO secures funding to promote safe abortion

A non-governmental organisation (NGO), SAVE-Ghana, has secured US$150,000 to undertake a Comprehensive Action Care (CAC) campaign which seeks to promote safe abortion among women in four districts in the Upper West Region.

The project, which will also cover six other districts in the Western Region, during a three-year period, is likely to be extended to four years, according to officials of SAVE-Ghana.

Wa West, Sissala West, Daffiama-Bussie-Issa and Lambusie-Karni, all in the Upper West Region, and the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, Ellembele, Shama, Jomoro, Sefwi-Wiaso and Ahanta West in the Western Region will be the focus of the CAC campaign.

Maternal mortality

“The goal is to reduce maternal mortality through access to information and abortion services in the Upper West and Western regions of Ghana,” project director Georgina Ampomah said at a stakeholders’ forum in Wa.

In the end, the project will “contribute to reducing abortion-related morbidity and mortality in women of reproductive age through increasing access to comprehensive abortion care services in the Upper West and Western regions of Ghana,” she said.

The NGO intends to collaborate with the Ghana Health Service to scale up the availability of comprehensive abortion care services to be accessed by at least 5,000 women (aged 20 and above) and 2,000 girls (aged 19 and below) in the 10 project districts.

She said the increased awareness was also expected to lead to a reduction in abortion-related complications reported at the health facilities. Research on unsafe abortion

Executive Director of SAVE-Ghana, Mr Kingsley Kanton, said research by the NGO in the beneficiary districts revealed a trend of unsafe abortions which were most often compounded by a lack of appropriate care for the women.

He said the funding, sourced from Safe Abortion Action Fund, would be used to sensitise women to access comprehensive abortion care services to reduce the incidence of abortion-related deaths.

“Abortion may not be a wholesale right for all women in Ghana, but there are circumstances where the law permits it. For instance, when a pregnancy endangers the life of a woman, it is proper that she is encouraged to seek proper services from professionals to avoid the complications and sometimes the fatal consequences that come with unsafe abortion,” Mr Kanton said.

He said the campaign would focus more on growing girls who were most vulnerable and, therefore, prone to pregnancies that could endanger their lives.

“The upsurge of teenage pregnancies, particularly among schoolchildren, including those in primary school, is a great worry,” he added and stressed that “it is more dangerous when such children or their parents or even the men who impregnate them attempt to terminate the pregnancy through unorthodox means.”

The project, he said, would also “strengthen the capacity of 600 midwifes, registered nurses and paramedics in the 10 project districts within three years to offer quality counselling services and to strengthen the referral systems to reduce the rate of unsafe abortion.