The 2022 National Family Planning (FP) Week Celebrations and Atoua Tv Series has been launched by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), on the theme: “Breaking Myths and Misconceptions on Family Planning.”
The event, which was organized in collaboration with the UNFPA, MSI Ghana, PPA Ghana, Global Affairs Canada and other development partners, was to raise national awareness and promote family planning as one of the most cost-effective interventions for improving maternal and child health and also ensure socio-economic development.
Delivering his keynote address, Dr Kofi Issah, the Director of Family Health Division, Ghana Health Service, explained that although Ghana has made some progress in the area of modern contraceptive usage among married women, there are still shortfalls in reaching out to especially the youth.
“As we commemorate this week, our main objective will be to public awareness, acceptance of family planning, dispelling the myths and misconceptions and to advocate increased commitment to family planning as an essential component of national health socio economic development.”
According to Dr. Issah, the commemoration of the week was to get both young people and adults to patronize family planning services in order to improve their reproductive health, and draw the attention of policy makers to improve investment and support in procurement of family planning commodities.
The Director of Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Kofi Issah who launched the 2022 Family Planning Week, hinted that Family planning has become a scapegoat for any health intervention in this country, which people don’t want to be interested in.
“Family Planning programmes in the country will continue to face challenges with persistent myths and misconceptions that it was for only married and older people, but stressed that all individuals and couples including adolescents, were eligible for Family planning services, saying, “ whether young or old, family planning should be a simple and personal decision made by informed individuals or couples regarding whether or not to, how often and when to have children”, he stressed.
The UNFPA County Representative Mr Yisa Barnabas explained that the launch will go beyond to improve awareness of the uptake of contraception to enable individuals including adolescents and couples to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health.
He underscored the need for Ghanaians to understand family planning and how it helps people. Saying, this is the reason why governments of Ghana needed to joined forces with the Ministry of Health, the Directorate of family planning, the National AIDS Commission and all the partners to work together in order to meet the demand for family planning.”
“When you have myths like if you use family planning, the woman can never be pregnant again. If you use family planning, you will get cancer. If you use family planning no man will look at you. If you use family planning then the woman will refuse you. If you use family planning then you are not conforming to our cultural norms and family guidance. With all these myths, how do we proceed? That is the purpose of this week.”
Mr. Yisa Barnabas therefore hoped that by the end of the celebration, a greater number and population of Ghana will come forth to desire a greater use of family planning services. And also called on leadership to ensure that family planning gets to the rural areas.
On his part, MSI Ghana representative
Dr. Joseph Aidoo, added that MSI Ghana has been at the forefront with a firm belief that everyone from everywhere from whatever background should be able to choose whether and when to have children.
He emphasized that several socio cultural issues across our communities continue to hinder women and girls access to family planning services. Saying that, “a recent report from a pilot study on the inclusion of family planning in the NHIS benefits package gave us essential insight that removing costs alone is not enough to advance access.
We need to develop and implement strategic SBCC interventions to address these myths and misconceptions while also building critical partnerships with other national development sectors.
As an organization, our strategic vision is bold, but simple. By the end of this decade our vision is that no abortion will be unsafe, and everyone who wants contraception, we will be able to access it. We know that this can be achieved, but it will require us to work differently and adapt to this changing world. A new strategy commits us to be in a better partner to confronting the challenges we face with courage and innovation and to closing the gaps once and for all”, he emphasized.
According to Dr. Joseph Aidoo MSI Ghana is committed to contribute to achieving gender equality and universal health coverage in Ghana by enabling women to have access to accurate information that will empower them to choice and bodily autonomy.
Some of the activities for the celebrations would include street floats, community, entertaiment, health education. The rest are, counselling, Tv shows across the country, community mobilization, talk shows and others.
By: Bernard K Dadzie.