Enjoy sexual life without limitations through family planning

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Family planning is a tool that empowers females in their reproductive stage to fully enjoy sexual life and carry out their regular duties without restrictions, Dr. John E. Otoo has said.

Dr Otoo, who is the Eastern Regional Deputy Director of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), noted that females in the reproductive stage were prevented from enjoying the “full benefit” of their reproductive life because of the fear of acquiring Sexually Transmitted Infections, and conceiving unexpectedly among other factors.

The capacity for individuals or couples to engage in sexual activity, freely and responsibly choose whether to start or end a family, how many children to have, and how to space them, is known as family planning.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency about the uptake of family planning in Eastern Region, he noted that the uptake of family planning medication was low, with a percentage of 29.4 when the year began.

According to him, approximately 24.4 per cent of the region’s total population of 2,987,092 were females between the ages of nine and menopause who were expected to engage in family planning.

Dr Otoo, on the other hand, observed that almost everyone, particularly females in their reproductive stage, had downplayed the benefits of family planning, resulting in an increase in teenage pregnancies, adult unwanted pregnancies, and pregnancy complications.

“Teenage pregnancy in the region is high with a percentage of 12.5 per cent at the beginning of the year,” he said. “It is a shame and an inditement on the leadership of a society, if a girl gets pregnant…and no one especially the adult has the right to blame the girl.”

Dr Otoo went on to say that society had a duty to set up systems to protect, educate, guide, and inform girls who had reached puberty so that they wouldn’t become pregnant before they were ready for marriage.

He listed a few techniques for family planning, including injectables, Lactational Amenorrhea Method, short-acting reversible contraceptive pills, barrier techniques, and Fertility Awareness Methods.

“Emergency contraception shall not be promoted as a regular family planning method,” he added.

Others include long-acting reversible contraceptive methods such as IUDs (5-12 years) and implants (3-5 years), as well as permanent methods such as male sterilisation (vasectomy) and female sterilisation (tubal ligation).

Despite the many advantages of family planning medication, Dr Otoo stated that there were some predictable and manageable side effects of the method, which depended on the type of method a client chose.

Again, he stated that seeking the consent of a partner was preferable but not required when administering family planning medication to couples.

Ms Juliana Abbeyquaye, the Eastern Regional Acting Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection’s Department of Gender, stated that reproductive health is a women’s right.

“You don’t need to have a lot of children that your body will not be able to carry, or your budget will not be able to take care of,” she said. “Family planning is a good policy, and I am a benefactor of it.”

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