Consultant Calls For Action Against Unsafe Abortion

A midwife Consultant, Mrs Josephine Addy, has called for an affirmative action against abortion-related mortality, which has claimed many lives. She said abortion related maternal mortality is one of the biggest neglected tragedies, which has 47,000 related deaths due to unsafe abortion, left five million women with disabilities and rendered 220,000 children motherless world -wide. Mrs Addy of Ipas Ghana an NGO, made the call at a day’s workshop on “Unsafe Abortion and its Contributions to Maternal Morbidity and Mortality for senior editors and health journalists. The workshop, organized by Ipas Ghana for the Media Action Team for Reproduction Health (MAT-RH), served as a platform for the media to be updated on new information on how women could be educated on unsafe abortion. It also equipped participants with right information to enable them articulate the legal indications for abortion and key elements of the reproductive health policy as well as Comprehensive Abortion Care standards and protocols in the country. Mrs Addy explained that young women under the age of 20 years, constituted 70 per cent of all hospitalizations from unsafe abortion complications. She noted that more than 14 million young women give birth each year and experienced pregnancy and childbirth related complications, leading to causes of death for the women aged between 15-19 years old. She explained that 4.2 million unsafe abortions were carried out across Africa each year, resulting in 90 women dying daily which were more than 30,000 women every year. “Unfortunately, women who want to terminate pregnancies used many unsafe methods, including inserting objects into themselves, drinking poisonous substances, douching with caustic or poisonous substances and inflicting physical abuse. Women resort to these methods due to the attitudes of some health professionals, financial constraints, ignorance, legalities and moral reasons, amongst others”. Mrs Addy attributed some of these unfortunate incidents to the restrictive abortion laws and policies, lack of accessible and affordable safe services, stigma and poor attitudes of health care providers. She said women were not dying because of diseases that could not be treated, adding, “they are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving”. Dr Koma Jehu Appiah, Country Director of Ipas noted that women were dying needlessly due to unsafe abortion and urged journalists to highlight more on women’s welfare and their health issues. “Women in Ghana need more visibility and though the numbers of abortion are dwindling, more children are now engaging in abortion unsafely,” he added.