Medic calls for free condoms for sexually active women

Dr. Ali Samba, a gynaecologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, has advocated free distribution of contraceptives to women in sexually active stage, to help reduce maternal mortality in Ghana, caused by unsafe abortions and complications during pregnancy.

He said that even though the current maternal mortality rate of 451 per 100,000 women was alarming, it could be reduced by 40 per cent if effective maternal health care delivery programmes were implemented.

Dr. Samba was speaking at the end of a workshop organized by the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC), Reducing Maternal Maternity and Morbidity (R3M) Programme, Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), in Accra on Thursday.

The workshop, on the theme: “Saving the Organ of Human Creation,” was aimed at sensitizing the public on challenges posed by maternal mortality and appropriate measures for reducing such deaths in Ghana.

Dr. Samba said that there was the need to establish national protocols to treat obstetrical complications and to provide 24-hour care for pregnant women in the country.

He said the free maternal health care delivery scheme initiated by the erstwhile New Patriotic Party government was good but the implementation was poor.

Dr. Samba called for institutional strengthening, capacity building and institutional responsiveness, to improve upon the scheme.

He said: “We have experienced a great influx of women moving from the private sector to the public sector due to the free maternal health care,” but there was the need to provide adequate logistics and facilities to make the policy more viable.

Nana Oye Lithur, a Human Rights activist, observed that the mobilization of people, awareness creation and facilitating change of attitude, by human rights groups, have helped in reducing female genital mutilation in the Northern Region than the enforcement of laws on the practice.

She called for a multi-faceted approach towards discouraging people from engaging in the practice than merely focusing on the legal perspective.

HRAC is a non-governmental organization, seeking to ensure the realization and protection of human rights in accordance with national legal instruments and international human rights standards.

Since 2006, the R3M programme has collaborated with the Ghana Government through the Ministry of Health and GHS to implement programmes to prevent maternal mortality caused by unsafe abortion.

The R3M consortium is made up of the Population Council, Engender Health, Ipas, Marie Stopes International and Willows Foundation.

Source: GNA

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