Some 40 per cent of all Ghanaian women lack the freedom to decide for themselves when it comes to reproductive health and sexual relations. This was contained in the 2018 Atlas for the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
Concerning the Sustainable Development Goal five (SDG-5), which among other things, is aimed at achieving equality and empowering all women and girls, it is reported that, many women in sub-Saharan Africa are not free to make their own informed decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use, and reproductive healthcare.
According to the survey, for women to be considered free to make their own decisions regarding sexual and reproductive health, they must answer affirmatively to three questions in surveys. These are being free to: refuse sexual intercourse with their husband or partner if they do not want it, decide on the use of contraception, and decide on their own healthcare.
Ghana is ranked the eighth freest country for women when compared with other countries in sub-Sahara Africa, and second in West Africa. Liberia is the freest country for women in West Africa, with almost 70 per cent of women free to make their own decisions on reproductive healthcare and sexual relations. Liberia is the third freest in sub-Sahara Africa behind Rwanda and Namibia which have a little over seventy per cent of women free to make sexual relation and reproductive healthcare decision.
Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, and Senegal are the top five countries in the sub-Saharan region where women’s freedom is limited. In Senegal and Mali, less than 10 per cent of women are free to make their own decisions concerning reproductive health and sexual relations. Mali for instance is estimated to have only 10 per cent of women using modern contraception methods – as a consequence, women in Mali have an average of 6.1 children.
With more than half of Ghanaian women having the freedom to decide on reproductive healthcare and sexual relation, Ghana may not be performing abysmally in this regard but if Ghana is to cut down on her rapidly growing population, as well as meet the targets set out in SDG-5 by 2030, there is the need for the country to put in place policy interventions that sufficiently empower more women to decide when it comes to sexual relations and reproductive healthcare.
By Bismark Elorm Addo