Let us deal with stigmatization on abortion – Health Researcher
Stigmatization and lack of knowledge of abortion laws in the country have been identified as some of the causes of unsafe abortion, especially among young women in secondary and tertiary institutions.
The incidence of abortion, according to statistics, is higher (25 per 1,000 women) among young educated and wealthy women between the ages of 20-24 and it is twice as high in urban women.
This came to light at a dissemination seminar on abortion, organized separately for students of the Kumasi Polytechnic and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi at the weekend.
It was organized by the Guttmacher Institute to brief the students on the abortion situation in the country to enable them to become aware and make informed choices.
Dr Mrs Joana Neequaye-Tetteh, Lead Researcher and Consultant to Guttmacher Institute, who made the presentations, attributed the high incidence of unsafe abortion to stigmatization and stressed the need for a concerted effort to deal with it.
She said the Ghana Maternal Health Survey (GMHS) of 2007, indicated that seven per cent of all pregnancies ended in abortion and 15 per cent of women aged 15-49 have ever had an abortion.
Eleven per cent of all maternal deaths are also caused by unsafe abortions.
Dr Neequaye-Tetteh pointed out that lack of knowledge about the legal system on abortion had also contributed to unsafe abortion and said the dissemination of the research findings is to help the students increase their knowledge and understanding of the issues in order to share with their colleagues, relatives and friends.
Mrs Joana Burgesson, a Public Health Educator at the Metro Health Directorate, said reported cases of unsafe abortions continued to increase in Kumasi and advised the students to take good care of themselves since they could also contract HIV/AIDS as a result of unprotected sex.
Dr Kofi Owusu Daaku, Dean of Students of KNUST, who chaired both occasions, advised the students to always be wise and shun irresponsible acts that could ruin their future.