‘Family Planning key to addressing maternal mortality’
Dr John Koku Awoonor – Williams, the Upper East Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, has observed that family planning is the key to addressing maternal mortality and teenage pregnancy in the country.
Dr Awoonor –Williams, who made the observation during a durbar organized by the Health Directorate at Sandema in the Builsa North District, regretted that, despite the noble idea of family planning, many people shied away from adopting it because of the negative perception some people held about the concept.
“In Ghana and the Upper East Region, the family planning acceptance rates for 2014 were 29 .2 per cent and 28.9 per cent respectively. This means that about 70.8 per cent and 77.8 per cent in their fertility ages in Ghana and in the Upper East Region probably needed family planning services but could not access them because of fear or experience of side effects, cultural and religious opposition among others”, the Regional revealed.
He stressed that, it was important for one to learn about the different kinds of contraception before choosing the best, to avoid any negative experiences.
“If we want to address maternal mortality in this region and the nation as a whole, we have to vigorously tackle the unmet need for family planning in the country”, he stressed.
Advancing his argument further on the need to patronize family planning, the Regional Director stated that, apart from curbing the spate of maternal mortality and teenage pregnancies, family planning presented opportunities for women to pursue additional education and participate actively in public life.
He said having few children also afforded parents the good opportunities to invest more in each child’s development and helped slow down unsustainable population growth and the resulting negative impact on the economy, environment and national and regional development efforts.
He expressed concern about adolescent girls leaving school due to pregnancies and the complications they go through before delivering and have the highest rate of neo-natal mortality.
Dr Awoonor-Williams educated the crowd at the durbar grounds on the various types of contraceptives and their usage, and impressed upon stakeholders, particularly traditional rulers, to intensify the lobbying to include family planning, in the package of the National Health Insuarance Scheme as well as encourage their community members to patronize family planning services.
The Upper East Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Danial Syme, entreated the people in the area to access the free family planning services offered them in the District to help address maternal, infant and teenage pregnancies.
Out of the 13 Districts in the region, only six are offering family planning services free of charge. The intervention, which is as a result of the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health and its development partners, has among the beneficiary Districts, the Nabdam, Talensi, Builsa North, Bongo and Garu –Tempane Districts