This year’s National Family Planning (FP) Week and World Contraception Day has been launched in Accra with a call on the youth to utilize family planning services.
Dr Kofi Issah, Director of Family Health at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) who made the call said young people were the future of every society and that their choices for FP were critical for their reproductive health and the structure of the society they would lead in future.
He said whether young or old, FP should be a simple and personal decision made by informed individuals on how often and when to have children.
The Director observed that unfortunately, there was an age long misconception reinforced by certain interest groups that contraceptives were only for married or older people.
“Very often uninspiring comments like “You are still young,” “What do you need contraceptives for,” and “keep young people away from accessing family service,” which discouraged young people from making good use of those services.
Dr Issah said information about contraceptives must be made readily available at places, where young people could access them without feeling embarrassed.
The FP week is celebrated in September every year to promote family planning as one of the most cost-effective interventions for improving maternal health and development.
This year’s celebration, themed “Ready for Contraception, Ready for my future” will be marked with educational activities to increase public awareness on the benefits of FP and its contribution of reproductive health.
It is expected to be a nationwide campaign, which envisions a situation where every pregnancy is planned and wanted.
It also seeks to encourage individuals and couples to use family planning to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health.
Dr Issah said research had shown that well informed young people abstained from sex or postponed sexual debut, stating that the GHS was committed to the promotion of maternal and adolescent health through the use of cost effective FP interventions.
“Currently, plans are ongoing to include FP service in the National Health Insurance benefits pace to improve access,” he added.
In 2017, Ghana’s Maternal Health Survey indicated that the use of modern contraceptive methods among married women was 25 per cent, with 31 per cent of married women having an unmet need of FP, while 62 per cent of adolescents were sexually active with unmet need to FP.
This, according to Dr Issah was an indication Ghana was much further away from achieving her national targets for contraceptive prevalence.
He said there was an urgent need to ensure that FP provision and promotion became an integral part of all national developmental efforts.
Niyi Ojuolape, Ghana Country Representative for the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) said this year’s event marked the end of achieving the global FP 2020 agenda, where the Government of Ghana and its partners committed to supporting the promotion of the right and choices of women on when and how many children to have.
“The year 2020 also marks the beginning of a global decade of action towards accelerating efforts to achieve the 2030 agenda to promote inclusive development.
He stated that the Coronavirus pandemic had caused a massive disruption to global manufacturing and supply chains, creating a negative impact on the health of young people and called on Government and its partners to increase investment in FP, especially during the pandemic and continue to prioritise FP as a development issue.