Mr Niyi Ojuolape, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has called on the government of Ghana and stakeholders to make firm commitments towards achieving the various global and national Family Planning (FP) targets.
He said the commitments made, would be presented at the upcoming International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), to be held in November in Nairobi, Kenya.
Mr Ojuolape, who was speaking in Accra, at launch of the 2019 National Family Planning Week, which also coincided with the World Contraceptive Day, said Ghana has made significant progress in FP as a result of efforts by the government, UNFPA and other partners.
He said the year’s celebrations on the theme” Know the Options; Know your Choice,” was to create an awareness that there were variety of FP choices, and that all persons were eligible to access the services that were offered in all health facilities across the country.
The UNFPA, he said, has positioned itself to achieve three transformative goals including reaching Zero unmet needs for FP by 2030, and therefore procured about 40 per cent of national contraceptive requirements each year, and also support capacity building to strengthen service provision and ensure quality in Ghana.
He said these efforts had complemented government’s contributions in creating favourable policy environment for FP, implementation of the CHPS policy, the task sharing initiative, and implementation of the Ghana integrated logistics management system (GHiLMS) and culminated in increased FP uptake in Ghana.
Mr Ojuolape indicated that despite the gains, there remained an unfinished FP agenda with persistent inequalities in access, adding that unmet need for FP was still high particularly among adolescents, while myths and misconceptions were prevalent.
Again coordination gaps persisted in the distribution of quality, affordable contraceptives to the last mile, sometimes creating artificial stock outs.
He said the country was still grappling with high teenage pregnancy which compel some adolescent girls to drop out of school to the detriment of their education.
He said as part of efforts to address the gaps, the UNFPA continued to work with government and other stakeholders to build the capacity of the health system to deliver quality FP services, and strengthen national supply chain systems including support to distribute commodities to the last mile.
It also support the training of FP providers in the various methods including new self-inject-DMPA SC, which afforded privacy and convenience for client, and would continue to support both the government and other players to build synergies and ensure programming to ensure that no one was left behind.
He explained that as the global community converged in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2019, governments, civil society, development partners, young people and the media, would convene to prioritise and renew reproductive health commitments.
The Summit, he said, would provide the opportunity to foster stronger partnerships to move the FP agenda forward.
The UNFPA as part of the activities to mark the 2019 National Family Planning Week, embarked upon a float through some principal streets of Accra to create public awareness and provide some education on the importance of FP in reducing maternal and child mortality as well as enhance socio-economic development.
The float ended at the La General hospital, where some trained staff of the facility’s counselling Unit had mounted a stand to offer free services to the public, particularly the youth.