Ghana to improve on Family Planning and contraception services

By Christabel Addo/Samira Larbie, GNA   

Accra, Sept. 26, GNA – Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare,
the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has assured partners
and Family Planning stakeholders of the Government’s resolve to continue to play
a strong leadership role to achieve the country’s targets.

He said the Government had shown commitment by
increasing the budget allocation for purchasing family planning commodities and
included the service in the National Health Insurance Scheme, which was being

Dr Nsiah Asare said the Government would “up
the game” on family planning by increasing the number of women using modern
contraception from 1.46 million in 2015 to 1.93 million by 2020.

This would be achieved through improved access
and availability of services at all levels, building capacities, improving
contraceptive method mix, and increasing demand for services.

It would further increase modern methods of
contraceptive prevalence rate among sexually-active married and unmarried
adolescents from, 16.7 and 31.5 per cent, to between 20 and 35 per cent,
respectively, by improving their access to sexual and reproductive health
information and services.

Dr Nsiah Asare, who gave the assurance at the
media launch of the annual Ghana National Family Planning (FP) Week in Accra on
Wednesday, said it was interesting that despite the universal knowledge of at
least one method of FP in Ghana, with 99 per cent of women and men having this
knowledge, uptake was still significantly low, especially among the educated
urban dwellers.

He said challenges including unmet needs,
myths and misconceptions still existed threatening to erode the gains made over
the years, and that those should be addressed by expanding access to information
and improving investment for procuring FP commodities for optimal services
across the country.

The 2018 celebrations, on the theme: “Family
Planning, Everyone’s Responsibility #everydaything#,” calls for a collective
role by stakeholders to ensure that safe, effective and accurate FP information
and services were made accessible to all Ghanaians.

The celebrations also coincided with the World
Contraception Day, which falls on September 26, every year, to promote the
vision of a situation where every pregnancy is wanted, improve awareness and
uptake of contraception and ensure wider access to FP services.

This would enable individuals and couples to
make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health.

Dr Nsiah Asare said the launch officially
begun a weeklong celebration of activities by several stakeholders to increase
public awareness and to highlight the benefits of FP not only for the
individual but to families, communities and the country as a whole.

He called on all, including the media, to be
ambassadors and champions of FP to debunk the myths and misconceptions
surrounding contraceptive use by providing quality public education.

Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director of the
Family Health Division, GHS, presenting the FP situation in Ghana, said
although some successes had been chalked, there were challenges that called for
further attention and investment to achieve government’s own set goals.

He said the current 34 per cent of unmet FP
need was too high, with geographical disparities in access still existing among
rural and urban dwellers, which, in essence, was pulling down governments
overall gains.

The country was still far from achieving its
national targets for contraceptive prevalence and the FP 2020 commitments, with
only 25 per cent modern contraceptive methods usage among married women,
representing just a three percentage increase from the 2014 Ghana Demographic
and Health Survey (GDHS) Report of 22 per cent, he said.

He said on the other hand the 2014 GDHS had
reported a 30 and 42 percentages unmet need for contraception amongst married
women, and sexually active unmarried women, respectively.

“This means that one third of all married
women, and almost half of unmarried sexually active women who want to wait for
some time to have a child, or do not want to have any more children, are not
using any contraceptive method,” he said.

He said FP was a key intervention for reducing
maternal deaths by simply preventing unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions
and decrease in the risk of complications among other things.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye emphasised on collaborative
approach towards improving access to accurate information, and the uptake of
family planning services, which would lead to a decline in the unmet needs.

He said FP Regional Resource Teams had been
established in all regions, which had contributed to the training of more than
4,000 auxiliary nurses to provide implant services in line with the
government’s task shifting policy.

It will also help to improve the GHS’s
specific social behaviour change communication under the “Good Life, Live it
Well” brand to improve access to quality information.

Other interventions include ongoing
sensitisation and active recruitment to scale up the users of the GHS mobile
application (GHS-Mapp) for service providers from 4,050 to 10,000 by 2020 as
well as to recruit 20 per cent of older adolescents between 15 and 19 years
mobile phone users unto the YMK adolescent newsletter and information mobile

Dr Ismail Ndifuna, the Chief Technical
Specialist, Maternal and Family Planning, UNFPA, called on the Government to
position family planning at its right place in development planning by
increasing investments to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive


قالب وردپرس