Mr Alosibah Akare Azam, the Upper East Regional Population Officer, National Population Council, has called on stakeholders to prioritize reproductive health as a development issue, for improved wellbeing and inclusive development.
He said when stakeholders paid attention to reproductive health issues, women and girls would be empowered to make choices regarding their sexual life leading to the prevention of unplanned pregnancies and ensuring gender parity.
“Reproductive health implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide when and how often to do so,” he said.
Mr Azam was speaking to women groups at Zuarungu in the Bolgatanga East District as part of the activities marking the 2021 World Population Day.
It was held on the theme, “Prioritizing reproductive health is an answer to rights and choices.”
The Regional Population Officer noted that access to reproductive health was a human right which when fully harnessed would help control population growth and reduce the burden on the few existing social amenities and would also ensure that women engaged in economic ventures contribute to national development.
He said when women especially girls had access to reproductive health, it would further contribute to reduction in teenage pregnancies and improve the quality of life.
Mr Azam urged all stakeholders to work together to ensure that the socio-cultural practices and religious beliefs which affected women and girls’ access to reproductive health rights were addressed.
“Women lack the power to decide about how and with whom they will have sexual relations and whether or when to bear children because some do not have the power to make choices without fear of violence,” he said.
The Regional Population Officer noted that policies and programmes needed to be planned to ensure that women’s rights were respected to enable them contribute immensely to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said, “Indeed, all hands must be on deck to support women to be empowered educationally, economically and politically to exercise choice over their bodies and fertility. When this happens there will be greater progress in society.”
Ms Esther Mbilla, a Public Health Nurse at the Bongo Directorate of the Ghana Health Service, said family planning was one of the effective reproductive health rights was essential for the health of the reproductive organs.
She urged the women to seek for advice from the health facilities to enable them plan their families well to ensure healthy growth and development.