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02.04.2009 Health

Some 30 percent of maternal mortality is due to unsafe abortion - Minister

By gna
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Statistical evidence has shown that 30 per cent
of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion with majority of them involving adolescent girls.

“This is because we have failed to provide them with adequate adolescent friendly services, and information about their sexuality to enable them to make good decisions concerning their lives,” said Ms. Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC).

Speaking on Thursday at a forum organized by the Ghana Millennium Development Goals Secretariat and the Christian Council of Ghana on combating maternal mortality, she called for appropriate measures to address the health needs of mothers and children since they formed the majority of the nation's population.

She noted that according to a World Health organization's estimate for Ghana, 1:45 women had a lifetime risk of dying due to maternal health complications.

Ms. Dansua cited the rights of all couples to decide freely on the number of children to have and access to information on reproduction void of discrimination, coercion and violence as some rights pertaining to reproduction.

“It is easier for these rights to be respected if the woman is adequately educated to appreciate them and if she has some level of economic independence.”

The Minister called for the abolition of socio-cultural inhibitions that hindered women from making informed choices concerning their fertility and the number of children they could conveniently and physiologically have.

Ms. Dansua called for collaboration of all religious bodies and organizations to join the campaign against maternal mortality.

She said some churches were not in favour of use of contraceptives, but the reality on the ground was that church members were not abstaining from sex and some couples in our churches did not want to have children not planned for.

The minister noted that until gender issues were addressed and women empowered to negotiate for safe sex and family planning, it would be very difficult to attain the Millennium Development Goals Four and Five.

Dr Emmanuel Ameh, a gynaecologist at La General Hospital cited haemorrhage, hypertension, infection, obstructed labour and unsafe abortions as some of the causes of maternal mortality.

He also mentioned high infant mortality, economic burden on the family, malnutrition and poverty as some of the effects of maternal mortality.

GNA

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