Women, in every society, are key drivers of economic and social growth.
Although marginalised in the past because of societal norms, culture and traditions, they are beginning to find their voices in society and taking their rightful places.
Women, no matter their numbers in mainstream decision making, are powerful when they contribute wherever they find themselves.
It is a known fact that without women, the world would not be populated because there would be none to conceive and deliver babies.
During the period of conception and pregnancy, many women go through a lot of changes — emotionally, mentally, physically and medically.
It forms part of the natural process.
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It is against this background that many revere the role of women in society and, therefore, accord them all the respect they deserve.
Although there is more to be done, the process is still ongoing to make women take their natural place in society.
The burden of maternal mortality in Ghana gives cause for concern. Presently, out of every 100,000 live births 319 women lose their lives to pregnancy related complications.
That is why the revelation by the Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare that increasing numbers of pregnant women are seeking health care at prayer camps should not be glossed over.
What is worrying is that a number of the women lose their lives and their babies in the prayer camps during labour.
He noted, for instance, that nine per cent of the women who died from maternal health complications in the northern zone, 20 per cent in the middle zone and 26 per cent in the southern zone visited prayer camps.
The director, therefore, entreated pregnant women to frequently seek early medical care at health centres because complications associated with pregnancy were not caused by spiritual powers but were health complications that could be treated medically to ensure safe labour.
The Daily Graphic fully supports the call for all pregnant women to seek medical attention when pregnant and during delivery and not visit prayer camps.
It has become a phenomenon in recent times for leaders of religious bodies, mostly Christian, to ask women who have medical issues, including pregnant women, to come to them for support.
Some of those leaders take advantage of the women and in some instances, these women do not survive childbirth.
This practice goes on in both rural and urban communities.
Much as it may not be on an alarming scale, every life is precious and must be protected at all cost.
It is against this background that we need to collectively join hands to drum home the risks associated with visiting prayer camps for help, instead of medical facilities.
The various municipal, metropolitan and district assemblies, in collaboration with the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), must intensify education within their jurisdictions to stop the practice.
The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service must also try to identify those prayer camps and dialogue with the leaders to mitigate the problem.
Those who prove to be recalcitrant should be penalised to deter others.
In addition there should be a national campaign to educate the public not to patronise the services of prayer camps for maternal services.
Women are valuable and must be protected.