Illegal abortion serving as a standing block to maternal mortality prevention

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Abortion
Abortion

Dr. Daniel Konka, Sunyani West Municipal Director of Health Services has observed illegal abortion, particularly among the youth had been one of the major challenges hindering the efforts to prevent maternal deaths in the municipality and the entire country.

Dr. Konka, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) about some major causes of maternal mortality and their prevention at Odumase, expressed worry that a lot of the youth used herbal concoctions and other dangerous methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

The reason for the abortion, Dr Konka said, was either to enable them to continue their education, for fear of being abandoned by their parents or because of stigmatisation by society.

Dr. Konka said the Directorate had therefore initiated preventive measures known as “Safety Net” aimed at identifying the teenage pregnant youth earlier in the area to counsel them about the dangers of illegal abortion to counter their decisions as a way of saving them and their unborn babies from avoidable and unexpected deaths.

He stated after advice many decided to keep the pregnancies based on certain conditions but others who still wanted to abort went through a safety procedure under a comprehensive abortion care system introduced by the Ghana Health Service (GHS).

Dr. Konka added other teenage pregnant girls who agreed to keep the pregnancies were visited regularly at home to give them antenatal care services till the day of safe delivery of the babies.

He disclosed some of the teenage girls also kept the pregnancies but negotiated with the Directorate that after delivery the babies should be given to the Social Welfare Department for care and upbringing.

Dr. Konka said all those initiatives were introduced to save the girls from engaging in illegal abortions which might have led to some complications and death.

He explained as part of the initiatives for the survival of the babies after delivery, the babies were registered for the Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) after 48 hours till all the necessary vaccination had been administered to ensure the health and safety of the babies.

Alongside with the above, Dr. Konka added, the mothers were counselled on how to take proper care of the babies, saying it included administration of vitamin ‘A’ to them, provide them with mosquito nets to protect the babies against malaria and monitoring of their weights to ensure healthy growth.

He said following the above initiatives, not only illegal abortion but also teenage pregnancy, which was high in the area for the past five years had been reduced. 

Dr. Konka announced the Municipality recorded 480 cases of teenage pregnancies in 2019 and 462 in 2020, 444 in 2021 and 402 in 2022 but it was 258 as at the end of September this year.

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