Marie Stopes lauds Ghana for efforts to curb unsafe abortion

BY: Graphic.com.gh

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Marie Stopes International, Mr Simon Cooke, has lauded Ghana for the country's initiative to curb unsafe abortion.

He, however, called on the government to make more services for safe abortion available and accessible to the youth in order to reduce maternal deaths.

According to him, pregnant women were engaging in unsafe abortion because they were not getting the correct services.

Mr Cooke made these remarks when he paid a working visit to Ghana to see at first hand, the progress being made by Marie Stopes International, Ghana, in its sexual reproductive health drive.

Unsafe termination
He said abortion could not be ignored because unsafe termination of pregnancies was claiming the lives of women, a situation which could be avoided.

"There is, therefore, the need to offer quality services to ensure that lives are not lost," the CEO pointed out, adding that "if they don't know where to get the services, they will find other ways to get abortion which might be unsafe and they might hurt themselves".

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He explained that if abortion was restricted or was not made available, women would still seek it so the best thing was to make it properly regulated and accessible.

Mr Cooke who led a team to visit the Marie Stopes International Centre at Dansoman said the organisation had designed programmes to educate young women, especially adolescents, on sexual reproductive health.

"We provide services at our centres and embark on outreach programmes to poor and rural communities," he said.

The CEO stressed that his outfit would continue to expand that network to ensure that services were available and accessible whenever people needed them, and would also ensure that young people and adolescents would know what was available to them.

One of the organisation's programmes is the recently launched 'Time to Talk' campaign, which seeks to encourage young girls to ask pressing questions on pregnancy and family planning and receive professional responses that will help them to make better choices.

On the "Time to Talk" programme, an outreach team goes close to the people, listens to them and provides them with the correct advice. The campaign also uses social media platforms to engage the youth in discussions on sexual reproductive health.

The Country Director for Marie Stopes International, Ghana, Ms Anne Coleen, expressed concern about the inadequate information on sexual reproductive health in the country.

This, according to her, had led to some misconceptions about family planning and sex-related issues.

She urged the Ghanaian youth, especially adolescents, to contact Marie Stopes for support concerning their sexual health.

"We have a lot of volunteers in the communities who are trained to give the right message to the people that have the questions," she said.

Singer, MzVee, who is the "Time to Talk" Ambassador, accompanied the Marie Stopes CEO on his rounds and urged women, especially young ladies, to be bold and ask the right questions about their sexual life.

She assured them that Marie Stopes International was competent to provide them with the correct services.

Marie Stopes International is a global organisation with 12,000 team members working in 37 countries to deliver quality sexual reproductive health services.