Tamale, Nov 28, GNA - Mr Alhassan Issahaku Amadu, the Northern Regional Population Officer, said on Sunday that there was no tool for development more powerful than women's empowerment and that the best of empowerment for women was sound health.
He said women needed sound health to be able to participate effectively in all aspects of human development.
Mr. Amadu was speaking at the launch of "Sixteen Days of Activism" for young people in the Tamale Metropolis that was on the theme: "The health of women - The health of the world".
The Centre for Promotion of Youth Development and Empowerment (CPYDE), a local non-governmental organisation involved in the promotion of the health needs of the vulnerable in society including women and children, organised the forum.
Widows, orphans, members of women associations, some students from the second cycle schools in the metropolis attended the forum sponsored by ActionAid Ghana, a British NGO.
Mr Amadu said women as nurturers of the human race, needed to be healthy to pave the way for the positive health of the world's population.
"Life begins before birth, and therefore, the right to be nurtured in the womb and to safe delivery and beyond is basic". He said violence against women would negate the unique process, noting that if the caregiver were sick, the care recipient would also become sick.
Mr Amadu said women's self-protection strategies were not the best to relieve them of being immersed in the shackles of violence.
Mr Amadu said majority of women in the north who had experienced violence had not reported the abuses because if they did, few people would support them while those who reported violence against them were often stigmatised or ostracized.
''Efforts to combat violence against women had been misunderstood or viewed as interference in private matters and this practice is still surrounded by strong cultural taboos.''
Mr Amadu said: "Females oriented to accept violence as part of the feminine tasks in her matrimonial role, is the characteristic of northern Ghana".
Hajia Hajara Telly, President of the Federation of Muslim Women of Ghana, who spoke on: "Cultural practices that hinder the health of women", called on traditional rulers to abolish all cultural practices that psychologically, emotionally and physically dehumanised women. "The problem starts with the girl-child who is taught by society to render unpaid labour, valuable and unrecognised labour, a labour society cannot do without but this is the beginning of her indignity and servitude", she said.
Hajia Telly said women's progress in all aspects was being retarded through bad cultural practices and called sensitisation of chiefs and clan heads to change some of those practices that were harmful to women. 28 Nov 05