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General News Wed, 13 Oct 2004

Modern contraceptives usage increases

Kumasi, Oct. 13, GNA - The 2003 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) shows a four-fold increase in the use of modern contraceptives in the last 15 years.

Conversely, the use of traditional methods had been declining since 1993.

Dr Grace Bediako, Government Statistician, who disclosed this, said current GDHS results show that, only seven per cent of currently married women were using a traditional family planning methods compared to 10 per cent in 1993.

She was speaking at the 2003 GDHS Forest Zone Dissemination seminar in Kumasi on Tuesday that was attended by stakeholders from the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and Eastern regions.

It was aimed at creating a forum for the dissemination of information as well as discussing and reviewing of the findings of the 2003 GDHS with particular emphasis on population and health. Dr Bediako said the GDHS showed that the use of modern contraceptive methods was becoming increasingly common in Ghana and that the GDHS data showed that 25 per cent of currently married women were using some form of contraception.

Most women choose modern family planning methods such as the pill and injectables as the most popular choices.

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The Government Statistician said, however that, contraceptive use was uneven throughout the country and that in the urban areas, 24 per cent of married women were using a modern contraceptive method compared to 15 per cent in the rural areas.

The most modern contraceptive prevalence is only eight per cent in the Northern Region compared to 26 per cent in Greater Accra.

Dr Bediako said GDHS showed that contraceptive use increases with women's education and said for example women with at least some secondary education were more than twice likely to use modern contraceptive method as against those with no education.

She said since the first GDHS, a shift in the source of family planning methods had been observed and that in the last five years, family planning users had relied more on the private sector for their methods, which was about 54 per cent more than the public sector, which was about 41 per cent.

Opening the seminar, Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister said it was a fact that health and poverty were inter-related and cannot therefore be tackled in isolation.

"Indeed, health is both a consequence and cause of poverty. Therefore improving the health of the people is very crucial and is the concern of the government".

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Mr Boafo said access to the media should be the concern of stakeholders and that the result of the survey showed that men had more access to the media than women.

For example, he said, the survey showed that about 89 per cent of men interviewed listen to radio at least once a week compared to 74 per cent for women.

Mr Boafo said with television, 51 per cent of men and 44 per cent of women view it, whilst 51 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women read a newspaper in a week.

He said these revelations were not good enough if family planning messages were to reach the people, especially women in the rural areas. The Regional Minister said what was encouraging, however, from the report was the universal knowledge of family planning in Ghana, which showed that 98 per cent of all women aged 15 to 49 years and 99 per cent of all men aged 15 to 59 years knew at least one method of family planning.

Mr Boafo said in spite of all these, it was sad to note that the health situation in Ghana was still characterised by preventable diseases and that malaria continued to be the leading cause of illness. He therefore called for inculcation of the habit of ensuring a clean environment by taking part in the celebration of the sanitation week instituted by the government.

Source: GNA