GHS Urged To Make Abortion Open For All Women Without Hindrances

Dr Hafiz Bin Salih
Dr Hafiz Bin Salih

Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, has suggested to the Ghana Health Service to work collaboratively with policymakers to make abortion open for all women without hindrances.

He explained that though abortion in Ghana was legal under circumstances such as rape, incest and under the condition that the pregnancy could be injurious to the mother, it created room for single and unmarried women to seek redress for abortion through unapproved means.

There is, therefore, the need for the Ghana Health Service and policymakers to review the law to ensure that abortion was open for all women to adopt the most appropriate means and safe methods to stay safe during pregnancy.

Dr Bin Salih made the suggestion during the Upper West Regional 2021 Health Sector Performance Review Conference held in Wa.

The conference was on the theme: “Improving maternal and perinatal health through effective maternal and perinatal death audit review in the Upper West Region.”

The region recorded 28 maternal deaths in 2021 as against 22 maternal deaths in 2020, which he said was on the high side.

The Regional Minister called on parents, traditional rulers, and faith-based organisations, among others to help reduce stigma on unmarried pregnant women so they would not be pushed to undertake illegal abortions that could cost them their lives.

He urged the health authorities in the region to adopt measures to address maternal and perinatal deaths.

“Regular training of health professionals, particularly midwives, on proper care and life-saving support system would help build their capacity to deliver,” he said.

Dr Bin Salih noted that maternal and prenatal deaths were a result of the behaviour of both health providers and health seekers.

He urged health professionals to make a critical examination of their conduct and that of other health providers.

“The urgency to provide health care is what defines a health professional. However, some health professionals are very slow in responding to their duties, leading to irreparable damages,” he said.

The Regional Minister urged District Assemblies to collaborate with the Ghana Health Service to remove unauthorised service providers in the communities, especially quack doctors, midwives and unlicensed medical providers.

Dr Damien Punguyire, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, said there had been improvement in the human resource situation in the region, following the recruitment and deployment of some 933 staff of various categories to the districts.

He said 13 young doctors, who left for school, had returned after successful completion of their various courses of study.

They include four paediatricians, three surgeons, three gynaecologists, one physician specialist, one maxillofacial surgeon and one pathologist, while 41 house officers had been posted to health facilities to complete their training.

He said the region had met its requirement for nurses and midwives, however, the biggest challenge was the skewed distribution of those staff in the various districts due to the unwillingness of some staff to accept posting to some areas.

He indicated that the supply of critical staff such as physicians’ assistants, anaesthetists, critical care nurses and mental health nurses was still inadequate the authorities were working with stakeholders to introduce a degree programme in critical care nursing at one of the nursing training colleges to bridge the supply gap.

Dr Pugunyire said there was still inadequate medical officers to serve the region’s population as the doctor-to-population ratio was still around 1:12,500 against the national target of 1:7,500.

“Some of the hospitals were being manned by one doctor, which leaves such population vulnerable when the doctor had to travel outside the district to attend to other important matters,” he said.

He said the entire population of the Wa East District was without a doctor and urged stakeholders to work together to attract and retain more health workers, especially medical officers to the region.





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