Accra, Sep 30, GNA - Dr (Mrs) Gloria Quansah, the Deputy Director General of the Ghana Health Services, has cited hemorrhage and unsafe abortion as the leading causes of maternal deaths in the country.
She also mentioned infectious disease, malaria and other hypertensive diseases as the other causes of maternal mortality.
Dr (Mrs) Quansah said this on Monday during a programme organised by SAVE-Ghana, a woman’s health oriented NGO to celebrate the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and legal Abortion which is commemorated on September 28 every year.
She said maternal health was one of the top priorities for the government and called on people who get complications during pregnancy and want abortion to seek appropriate counseling before undergoing it.
This, she said, would help the government in its quest to curb or miniminse the high rate of unsafe abortions recorded by health officials in the country.
She mentioned antenatal care, safe delivery, post natal care including breast feeding and infant health as some of the examples of safe motherhood.
Dr Quansah also cited rape, defilement of female idiots or imbeciles, incest, life threatening injuries or injuries to physical or mental health and serious abnormalities or diseases as some reasons under which abortion could be performed in the country.
“In Ghana, abortion can only be performed by a registered gynecologist and a registered medical practitioner,” she added.
Ms Georgina Ampomah, Team Member, SAVE-Ghana, said experts had indicated that Ghana would record about 126,000 abortions by the end of 2014 and that the majority of it would be unsafe procedures done outside of registered clinics and hospitals.
She said the criminalization of abortion, stigmatization from both community and health officials had forced to women resort to life threatening methods for abortion such as the use of hairpins, knitting needles, and herbs to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
“Also health facilities offering Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) services are severely inadequate especially in rural areas which has also resulted in a great mismatch between the number of abortion seekers and certified providers and health centres”, she said.
She said a lot of women have also had their wombs infected with diseases due to the introduction of unsterilized instruments to their wombs.
“She said SAVE-Ghana in partnership with Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF) had begun a three- year programme in the Western and Upper East Regions aimed at advocating against unsafe abortion.
She said SAVE-Ghana would continue to liaise with the traditional rulers and the Ghana Health Services in an effort to stem unsafe abortions.
Ms Ampomah appealed to the Ghana Education Service to intensify education on sexual reproduction health to sensitise teenagers in the both the basic and second cycles institutions.
Mr Kingsley Kanton, Team Leader, SAVE-Ghana, noted that access to safe and legal abortions was not just a healthcare issue but a human right one as well and called for the removal of all stumbling blocks between a woman and her bodily autonomy.
He expressed his appreciation to Mrs Lordina Mahama for her education and commitment to safe motherhood.
“The world and Ghana loses too many young women full of hopes and dreams because of unsafe abortion simply because of where she happens to live, or how much money she has”, she said.