Kamis, 26 Januari 2012


Story: Zainabu Issah

THE 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), defines reproductive health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.’

Reproductive health, therefore, implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
This implies that men and women have the right to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law. Women also need to have access to appropriate healthcare services that will enable them to go safely through pregnancy and child birth and have healthy children.

Promoting sexual reproductive health rights and services is critical for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, which respectively relate to reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. In order to achieve this, the government adopted the MDG indicators and developed a Reproductive Health Strategic Plan, in 2007, originally spanning a four-year period but now extended to 2013.

The plan has six strategic objectives which seeks to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, reduce neonatal morbidity and mortality, enhance and promote reproductive health, increase contraceptive prevalence through promotion of access and quality of family planning services, develop and implement cross-cutting measures to ensure access and quality of reproductive health services, and enhance and promote community and family activities, practices and values that improve reproductive health.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, the outgoing regional Chairman of the Ghana Coalition of Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) in Health, Mr Eric Kwabena Agbozo, said it was unfortunate that a number of women die from preventable deaths, some through unsafe abortions, while others suffer disabilities each year due to preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The meeting was held to sensitise the media and the general public to the coalition’s initiatives and the need for young and old women to be cautious of their health issues.

It was also aimed at encouraging the government to work to improve sexual and reproductive health service and also make the corresponding funding available in line with targets set in the Health Service Medium Term Development Plan 2010-2013 programme.

Mr Agbozo stressed the need to promote accountability and transparency in the health sector with emphasis on sexual and reproductive health services and rights, adding “Saving women's lives in childbirth requires relatively inexpensive and known interventions at the clinical level - not fancy hospitals, new technologies or scientific breakthroughs”.

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