Indigenous Women Empowerment Network (IWEN) Ghana has observed that the rights of women, especially with regards to their sexual and reproductive health rights continue to be violated worldwide, a situation which calls for the concerted efforts of all relevant stakeholders to effectively reverse the trend.
According to IWEN-Ghana, as the global geo-political context is increasingly becoming regressive, it is extremely critical to denounce any attempts at curtailing women’s rights, including our human rights to decide freely upon all aspects of our bodies, our sexualities, and our lives, free from coercion, discrimination and violence.
In a message to mark International Day of Action for Women’s Health, the Executive Secretary of the IWEN-Ghana, Celestina Andoh, highlighted some obstacles and stigma women face in accessing safe abortion services.
Mrs Andoh said currently, the increasing numbers of adolescent pregnancies, and their negative impacts on the health and socio-economic well-being of the youth, especially adolescent girls, call for effective and well-structured collaboration between state, non- state institutions and all other relevant stakeholders to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancies and childbearing.
She said for over 30 years, women, girls, advocates and allies have continued to take action, stand up and speak out for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) adding that “May 28 is a key day for us, as activists, to call for the promotion, protection, prioritization and advancement of sexual and reproductive health rights on local, national and international scales.”
According to her, “it is very to provide adolescents with the right information, knowledge, skills and services to insulate them from unplanned pregnancies.”
“The vulnerability of many adolescent girls to unplanned pregnancies and other reproductive health challenges is a function of a number of factors including poor socio-economic status, ignorance and inaccessibility of reproductive health information and services,” she said.
The Executive Secretary added that one of the challenges that should be addressed in our attempt to harness the demographic dividend is adolescent pregnancy which continues to undermine the quest for women's empowerment through higher education and career development.
The urgency that is required in combating adolescent pregnancy in Ghana is consistent with efforts towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda within the Sustainable Development Goals framework, specifically, with respect to SDG 3 on Good Health and Well Being and SDG 5 regarding Achieving Gender Equality and Empowerment of all Women and Girls.
Mrs Andoh revealed that her organization will soon launch a five project with its partner Global Media Foundation dubbed: "Girls' Empowerment and Livelihood (GEL)" project, which will be implemented in ten districts in five regions of Ghana.
The project goal is to ensure that “all adolescents are fully empowered to prevent early and unplanned pregnancies”.
The Programme Officer of IWEN, Madam Angela Essel, for her part said the adolescent reproductive health environment is dynamic with new and emerging dimensions always requiring different approaches to address.