Health News Sat, 28 Feb 2015

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Pregnant girls access safe abortion services

Mrs Alberta Osei Agyemang, a midwife at the Chiraa Health Center, has said the center supervised 10 safe abortions, out of the 90 teenage pregnancies recorded in 2014.

She told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Chiraa that after a Reproductive Healthcare Sensitization Forum, organized by the Sunyani West District Directorate of Health that the pregnant girls were between 13 years and 15 years.

Ghanaian law permits abortion in cases of rape, incest or the defilement of a female imbecile. Abortion is also permitted if the life or health of the woman is in danger; or if there is risk of faetal abnormality.

However, according to the Guttmacher Institute, as of 2007, only three per cent of pregnant women and only six per cent of those seeking an abortion were aware of the legal status of abortion.

The Institute says about 45% of abortions in Ghana remain unsafe.

The forum, attended by about 70 school children, teachers and other opinion leaders in the area, the forum was, therefore, aimed at sensitizing the people about the purposes and benefits of the established sexual reproductive health care unit at the health center.

Mrs Agyemang, a Catechist at the Chiraa Presbyterian Church, said an additional nine adolescent girls in the community underwent various family planning services to guard against teenage pregnancy.

She expressed with regret that teenage pregnancy was rife in the area because many parents shirked the responsibility of upbringing and development of their adolescent boys and girls.

Mrs Agyemang advised parents to effectively collaborate with teachers in the area to curtail truancy among school children.

She pointed out that unsafe abortion was also on the increase even among married women, indicating that because most of the victims were not prepared to give birth, they applied herbs and other drugs to terminate their pregnancies.

Some of them even die on arrival at the center while others went through various health complications, the midwife added.

Mrs Agyemang expressed concern about lack of sex education among adolescent girls, especially those in Junior High Schools.

She entreated parents to draw their girls closer to them and provide them with basic sanitary materials, particularly pads, to enable them to cope during menstruation.

Alhaji Kassim Adama, Chief of Chiraa Zongo, who presided, advised parents to invest much their resources in the education of their children so that they would grow to become useful adults.

Source: GNA

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