Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), a human rights advocacy media Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called on the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to make safe abortion services available.
He said because safe abortion and other sexually reproductive services were not readily available in communities’ unreported cases of unsafe abortion and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents were remained high.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum held at Afransi in the Gomoa East District of the Central Region, Mr Ahenu stressed the need for the GHS to create avenues for adolescent boys and girls to access sexual reproductive health care services.
GLOMEF, with support from AmplifyChange, an international NGO is currently implementing a one-year project titled “Voice of Change Project” in the District.
Its objectives are to increase engagement among service providers to actively support sexually reproductive healthcare services and rights for people in the area and also seeks to build the capacity of 20 Journalists to understand and increase media coverage on sexual reproductive issues.
Mr Ahenu said research showed many young women could not easily access family planning services to help them guard against unwanted pregnancies.
He said access to family planning services, and use of contraception remained basic health rights that must be available to all class of people, as clearly stated in the UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA), held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994.
ICPD’s consensus framework is aimed at giving comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), based on a human rights framework and inclusive of family planning, maternal health, prevention of STIs, and adolescent reproductive health.
Mr Ahenu said despite international and national policies in support of sexual and reproductive health services and rights, many Ghanaians, particularly, girls and women were unable to access the services, due to factors such as; early marriage, low socio-economic status, low levels of education, illiteracy and poor access to healthcare.
The factors affect the lives and productivity of women and girls who cannot fulfil their rights to education, health, and work.
Mr Stephen Tie-Toh, the Gomoa East District Director of Ghana Health, said access to family planning services remained one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent maternal, infant, and child deaths.
Family Planning interventions contribute to reducing poverty, increasing gender equity, preventing the spread of HIV, reducing unwanted teenage pregnancies, and lowering infant deaths.
Mr Tie-Toh said lack of access to family planning and contraceptive information, education, and services remained a major factor contributing to surge in teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortion in the country.
Mr Benjamin Kojo Otoo, the Gomoa Central District Chief Executive, stressed the need for the GHS to create a better environment for adolescents to access family planning services and commended GLOMEF and its partners for the project.