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Ghana should provide interventions that will improve comprehensive abortion care, increase providers confidence to enable them provide safe services, a new Guttmacher Institute Report has recommended.

The interventions the report noted should focus on training providers in abortion techniques, relevant for middle level providers such as nurses and midwives who had a greater population than doctors.

The report stressed that more emphasis should be placed on the comprehensive nature of the Comprehensive Abortion Care (CAC) services and that providers must have the skill and confidence for both safe abortion and post abortion family planning for successful interventions.

Disseminating the findings of the study in Accra, Professor Clement Ahiadeke, a researcher explained that the initiative of piloting Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity (R3M) in seven districts in three selected regions had positive effect on the provision of safe abortion and post abortion care.

The study on the theme “The Impact of Ghana’s R3M Programme on the Provision of Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Care (PAC)”, was put together by Ghana’s Ministry of Health and other international organisations including the Ipas, Engender Health, Marie Stopes international, Population Council and Willows Foundation. It started in 2006 in Greater Accra, Ashanti and Eastern Regions.

The programme provided training for providers, provided equipment to increase access to CAC, family planning services and that, has reduced unplanned pregnancy and complications and deaths due to unsafe abortion.

Prof. Ahiadeke indicated that R3M providers in the three regions after the training were 16 times likely to provide safe abortion services compared to non R3M providers in the Brong Ahafo Region.

He said whilst R3M providers were twice as likely to provide PAC compared to all non-R3M providers, non –doctors were 70 per cent less likely to provide PAC.

He recommended that the porogramme be expanded to the entire country , have greater involvement of non-doctors in PAC and expand contraceptive services to reduce unintended pregnancy and abortions.

Mr Placide Tapsoba R3M Coordinator giving an over view of the programme said it had increased clients services with CAC Services from under 1000 to over 40,000 between 2007 and 2013.

Activities related to Behavior Change for reproductive health have also increased in Contraceptive Prevalent Rate in Tema and Ashiaman from 11.3 per cent to 31.8 per cent and in Nima and Maamobi from 10.7 per cent to 26.3 per cent.

He noted that the programme also provided pre-service training for midwives whilst handbooks on Family Planning and CAC had been developed for Medical students.

Over 4,000 key opinion leaders, police, judiciary and media had been trained on the abortion law and unsafe abortion issues.

“The program will support Ghana Health Service (GHS) to improve health management information systems (HMIS), support achieving commodity security, expand best practices in behavior change approach, and continue with health facility improvement”, Mr Tapsoba added.

Dr. Patrick Aboagye, Director of the Family Health of the GHS who presided expressed concern about the fact that unsafe abortion was still the second biggest contributor to maternal deaths though 15 per cent of the maternal mortality cases were preventable.

He disclosed that unmet need for contraception was high with 35.7 per cent for married women and 37.6 per cent for unmarried women.

He said though the maternal mortality was reduced by five percent in 2013, much could be done to reduce it further to 11 percent and called for the need to intensify efforts and roll out the R3M in all regions.

Dr Aboagye acknowledged the fact that there were challenges and called for the need to incorporate new and successful programme strategies into Ghana’s health systems, adding, “We are having curriculum revisions which will allow for improved pre-service training across all institutions; changes in policy to allow Community Health Nurses to insert implants” .

He announced that a new maternal health study was likely to begin 2015/2016 andt called on all stakeholders to support the exercise in both funding and technical areas.

Dr Joana Nerquaye-Tetteh Country Coordinator for Guttmacher Institute commended stakeholders and international donors who supported the study and urged government through the GHS to implement the recommendations provided by the study to ensure that unsafe abortions had been curtailed to save the lives of women.
Source: GNA

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