Female students have been urged to take responsibility of their sexual and reproductive health and to live acceptable social lifestyles.
Dr. Emmanuel Ameh, Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at the Ghana Health Service, who made the call, said women had an important role to play in ensuring that they have good and desired reproductive cycles.
Dr Ameh was speaking on family planning at the third edition of Secure Girls Talk held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
The Secure Girls Talk, a flagship programme of Population Services International Ghana (PSI Ghana), a social marketing organisation, brings together female students in various tertiary institutions for an evening of learning, thought sharing and networking.
The participants discussed reproductive health issues focusing on: achieving personal goals without the barrier of unplanned pregnancies, the misconceptions of using contraceptives, the importance of family planning, and the secrets to successful long-term love relationships.
Dr Ameh said having a stable family unit in today’s world calls for a conscious decision, and family planning provides the viable means to securing this.
“Family Planning is an important aspect of the reproductive health of every woman. All the available methods are there to help people have children when they’re ready and not to have children when they aren’t ready. So family planning is both preventive and a surer way to being pregnant at one’s own convenience,” he said.
He explained the different types of family planning methods, which are broadly classified under Permanent and Reversible methods.
The permanent method, in the case of a woman, involves tying the egg producing tubes and this is a medical process known as female sterilization or bilateral tubal ligation. For a man, this is called vasectomy and involves the tying of the sperm tubes.
On the other hand, the reversible method includes the use of injectables, implants, intrauterine device (IUD), and patches.
It also includes other forms such as the barrier method which has to do with using both male and female protector condoms and the natural method which is the safe period in the monthly cycle of a woman.
Addressing some misconceptions about family planning, Dr. Ameh explained that family planning and the use of modern contraceptives were not hazardous to the immune system, but are safe and effective depending on the needs and health conditions of a person.
He stated that being on any of the family planning method does not in any way abort pregnancy and does not also affect an individual’s sexual desire.
Dr. Ameh reiterated the need to scale education programmes in universities and communities to help dispel common myth and misconceptions about modern family planning methods.
He, therefore, lauded PSI Ghana for the initiative, stating that the Secure Girls Talk series is an important platform that gives young women the opportunity to plan their reproductive life and secure a better future.
“It’s important for people to discuss their sexuality. The more we discuss sexuality, the more people are prepared to plan their relationships, marriages or pregnancies and the more they can take wise decisions.
It’s my firm belief that going forward with these series, we can reorient young women to become responsible both now and in their adult life,” he added.
Clinical Psychologist and Relationship expert, Ms. Maura Ntow, in her presentation, indicated that the difficulty with many relationships is the inability and unwillingness to discuss sexual matters.
She entreated young women to talk and confide in their parents and professional counsellors, since they were willing listeners who will guide them to make the right choices in life.
She also applauded PSI Ghana for organizing the series, saying that it serves as an essential platform to sensitize young women and empower them on best ways to start out life.
More than hundred students attended the Secure Girls Talk programme.
PSI Ghana is a social marketing organisation, dedicated to improving the health of people by focusing on serious challenges like a lack of family planning, HIV and AIDS, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition. It is also the brand owners of Secure Oral Contraceptive and Protector Condoms