Comprehensive abortion care should be incorporated in health delivery system- UCC study

Researchers on the trends of abortion in the country have suggested the inclusion of a comprehensive abortion care in the national health delivery to stem the increasing incidence of unsafe abortion and related “needless” deaths.

They revealed that the socio-economic cost of unsafe abortions was very high and therefore both its morbidity and mortality rates should be considered and policies formulated to address the situation.

These issues came to the fore at a dissemination forum organized by the University of Cape Coast (UCC’s), Department of Population and Health to disseminate results from studies on abortion in the country at UCC.

The study was done in collaboration with Guttmacher Institute in the United States and during the forum, other areas were identified for further research after the results were thoroughly discussed by participants.

They include the psychological trauma after abortion and how people understand the criminal law on abortion as well as the unmet needs of women on contraceptives.

Currently, deaths through unsafe abortion make up about 13% of all maternal deaths; a figure which the researchers said could be avoided if a concrete policy was put in place for women to access such services in the hands of qualified personnel.

According to them, if legalized, comprehensive service on abortion will be established with pre- and post counselling services attached to them to help stem the psychological trauma associated with it.

Dr. Joseph Teye Nuertey, the Cape Coast Metropolitan Director of Health Services, who presented a research on the “overview of abortion cases-The Cape Coast Perspective”, observed that though abortion was widespread particularly among the youth, accessing information on it was a challenge.

He said getting information or data during his study on abortion which was conducted in five facilities including two private ones in the Metropolis from 2008 to 2010, was virtually inaccessible as most health personnel were reluctant to divulge information because of perceived illegalities associated with it.

Dr. Nuertey gave total statistics on abortions in the five facilities during the period as 1,233 and indicated that the figures might have been under declared adding that the quality of data was not the best and seems to be shrouded in secrecy even though the GHS has some protocols on abortion.

He said: “it was painful as practitioner to see young women die needlessly due to abortions carried out by quacks or through self medication” and was of the view that the country found a remedy to unsafe abortions which was major a contributing factor to the rate of maternal mortality in Ghana.

The Head of Department of Population and Health of UCC, Dr. Akwasi Kumi Kyereh, said in Ghana, 17 of out every 1,000 women have had abortions and that the higher the level of education the more likely a woman would have an abortion.

Professor Harold Amonoo Kuofie, Dean of the UCC School of Medical Science, who chaired the function, stressed the need for women who have had abortions to be treated with empathy.

He commended the Department for coming out with the study since it would help identify pertinent issues on abortion and find means to erase the stigma attached to it.

Source: GNA

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