Dr Jacob Akuamoah-Boateng, Chief Executive Officer of Mab Group of Companies and Megavest Medical Centre, has called on the Ghana Health Service to intensify educational programmes on safe sex and abortion for young girls in the country.
He said even though Section 58 of the Criminal Code of 1960 makes abortion a criminal offence in Ghana, the law gives liberal grounds on which legal abortion may be permitted but unfortunately many people are not well acquainted with the code.
Dr Akuamoah-Boateng, who made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said as a result of the ignorance of the law many women in Ghana do not know their legal rights to safe abortion and many of them often engaged in unsafe abortion and end up endangering their lives.
He said two-thirds of abortions caused were septic as the young women and girls fall on quack doctors who carry out the act in unacceptable and unapproved conditions.
The CEO said abortion cases have increased because the various health facilities now focus more on reproductive health.
Mr Akuamoah-Boateng said unsafe abortion was the second leading cause of maternal mortality in Ghana, accounting for 25 to 30 per cent in leading hospitals in the country.
He said “16,185 girls and young women caused abortion in 2011 compared to 10,785 in 2010 and 8,717 in 2009 and 216 cases of abortion involving girls aged 10 to 14 were recorded in 2009, 331 cases in 2010 and 582 in 2011”.
Dr Akumoah-Boateng said in the case of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years, 5,525 abortion cases were recorded in 2009, whiles 6, 6,679 and 7,800 were recorded in 2010 and in 2011 respectively.
He said in the process of unsafe abortion, bacteria named clamydia enters the womb causing a situation known as endometritis, which spreads in the tube. It also causes salpngitis, thus total blockage of the tube causing infertility as well as destroying the richness in the lining of the walls of the endometrial stripe.
He said the situation is impeding the country’s effort at achieving the millennium Development Goal Five (MDG 5), primarily aimed at reducing maternal mortality by 75 per cent by 2015.
Dr Akumoah-Boateng suggested that Ghana’s Reproductive Health Policy on the reduction of unsafe abortion should be geared towards the provision of safe abortion within the confines of the law, as recommended by the World Health Organisation. GNA