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Most Ghanaian women suffer reproductive health-related hazards – HRAC

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market-womanThe Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) said on Tuesday that a lot of women in Ghana are going through physical, mental, and social hazards relating to reproductive system at all stages.

The harmful reproductive health practices commonly affecting the Ghanaian woman are female circumcision, women branded as witches, child marriages, widowhood rites, cultural stigma on disability, polygamous marriages.

Ms. Wendy Abbey, Ag. Executive Director of HRAC, made this known during a seminar at the Ghana Law School dubbed: Why Reproductive Health Rights Are Rights.

It was organized by the centre in collaboration with population council, Ghana, on Reproductive Health Right in Legal Education.

Ms. Wendy said the practices were exposing women to contracting HIV/AIDS and compelling them to engage in unsafe and illegal abortions.

She said the situation was also leading to unwanted pregnancies and social stigma and undermined their ability to contribute meaningfully to social and economic progress of the country.

She explained that a research conducted by the centre from 2009 to 2012 revealed that 68 percent of abortions were still carried out in an unsafe manner.

According to Ms. Wendy the World Health Organisation (WHO) also estimates the number of deaths due to unsafe abortions was 85 percent of 100,000 live births.

She said many women suffer reproductive health abuses because of ignorance or they were being coerced into it, adding that sometimes the laws and policies were confusing on some the issues.

Mr. Ernest Abotsi, Ag. Dean, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) said pregnant women under the current legal framework were entitled to certain protections.

Mr. Abotsi said for example pregnant women could not be assigned a duty outside their place of residence after four months of pregnancy.

“They are also entitled to additional free break periods and three months maternity leave”, he added.

However, he said sometimes the private sector due to fear of losing productivity and profit or substandard performance exhibited during pregnancy they often discriminate against women, added that there were provisions in the labour law that protect women right.

WHO define Reproductive health as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system, at all stages of life.

Reproductive health, therefore, implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.

Source: GNA

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