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NGO trains midwives on safe abortion

2010-07-13 22:36:08
This article has been read 762 times.

Pathfinder International, an NGO working in the area of healthcare delivery, has organized a week’s training workshop on safe abortion care in Bolgatanga, Upper East for midwives in public and private health institutions.

It was aimed at contributing towards reducing maternal deaths in the country particularly in the Northern Regions.

The workshop, which attracted participants from the Upper West and Upper East Regions, treated topics such as, comprehensive abortion care, adult learning skills and youth-friendly abortion services, management of complications as well as overview and guiding principles including legal perspectives.

Welcoming participants to the workshop, Pathfinder’s Programme Officer, said about 22 to 30 out of 100 maternal deaths were as a result of unsafe abortion, globally.

He said despite challenges, the organisation had continued to educate the general public on both Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) and Post Abortion Care (PAC) through durbars, health talks with organised groups, and sign boards that direct patients in need of safe abortion to the health facilities where such services could be accessed.

Mr Tindanbil announced that the CAC which began in 2006 in the Northern Region would soon scale up from the current 13 districts to 15 districts.

There are 16 facilities in the Upper East Region.

Professor S. W. K. Adedivoh, an obstetrics and gynaecology expert, said the dismissal of pregnant Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates by school authorities, was another factor that had continued to increase the annual figures of unsafe- abortion deaths and mutilation of the female reproductive organs throughout the country.

He urged parents and school authorities to counsel their wards to avoid abortion.

Dr. Peter Baffoe, a gynaecologist at the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, expressed dismay about how some pregnant teenagers and women torture themselves in their attempt to get rid of unwanted pregnancies.

According to him, some girls and women in the act of desperation insert broken bottles, several-inches-long rough sticks into their private parts, drink all sorts of concoctions as well as push them into their uterus in their attempts to terminate unplanned pregnancies.

He narrated an incident of a teenager in Bawku who in 2008 was rushed to the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital with some of her intestines hanging out in-between her thighs as a result of an unsuccessful attempt to pull out a foetus from her womb with a 30cm-long, spiky, spiral-shaped stick by somebody who claimed to be carrying out the abortion for her.

Dr. Baffoe said although the teenager survived, she lost her womb through puncturing with the stick.

He said a lot more such tragedies happened each passing day and emphasised the need for family planning and consultation with only qualified health professionals for safe abortion care, to avoid needless deaths and irreversible deformities and disabilities.

“Safe abortion does not affect future infertility, preterm delivery, breast cancer or severe psychological reactions as some think or misconceive.

“If we turn our backs on needy bearers of life-threatening pregnancies, pregnancies being carried by mental patients as well as pregnancies as a result of rape, defilement, incest, teenage sex and lack of family planning, and they too run away from us because of stigma and religion, it would be a mirage to make a headway in reducing maternal deaths in Ghana,” he added.

The Upper East Regional Director of Health, Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams said the Ghana Health Service (GHS) strongly believed it was totally unacceptable for a woman to lose her life whilst giving life.

He said despite an appreciable measure of improvement made over the past ten years in the region, maternal mortality was still of a great concern which should engage the attention of all and measures need to be put in place to ensure that more pregnant women had access to skilled birth attendant.

The Regional Director commended Pathfinder International for such a workshop and entreated the participants to translate the knowledge and skills acquired into professional actions devoid of personal beliefs and principles that would benefit the needy population.


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