Unwanted pregnancies increase unsafe abortions

BY: graphic.com.gh
Dr Ali Samba, Director of Medical Affairs  Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, demonstrating the use of the Manual Vacuum Aspirator (MVA)
Dr Ali Samba, Director of Medical Affairs Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, demonstrating the use of the Manual Vacuum Aspirator (MVA)

It is estimated that abortion rate in the country is 44 per 1,000 women, the Director of Medical Affairs at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Ali Samba, has said.

Quoting data from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organisation committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, Dr Samba said the rate varied in different parts of the country.

The rates, he explained, were 24 in the northern zone, 51 in the middle zone and 45 per 1,000 women in the coastal zone.

Dr Samba wa    s speaking at a roundtable discussion with journalists and bloggers organised by DKT International Ghana in collaboration with DKT WomanCare to create awareness on how to prevent unsafe abortion and support women and girls’ health, well-being and rights within the context of COVID-19.

DKT International Ghana, is a non-profit organisation that promotes family planning and HIV prevention through social marketing.

Its objective is to raise the contraceptive prevalence rate and reduce maternal mortality.

Unsafe abortion in Ghana

In a presentation, Dr Samba said more than half of pregnancies in Ghana were unintended, explaining that women with unwanted pregnancies often resorted to unsafe abortion.

Citing the annual report of the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Samba said 311 women died in 2019 from complications of abortion which accounted for 9.2 per cent of direct maternal deaths.

Furthermore, he said data in the country indicated that almost one in six, representing 15 per cent of women in the reproductive age in Ghana had had an unsafe abortion.

Dr Samba stressed that unsafe abortion could lead to damage to the genital tract, haemorrhage (heavy bleeding), infection, uterine perforation and incomplete abortion.

Manual Vacuum Aspiration

The highlight of the event was the demonstration of the Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA), a minor surgical procedure that uses gentle suction to remove the contents from the uterus using a handheld device (the aspirator).

Dr Samba, who demonstrated the process stressed that the procedure should only be performed by a trained healthcare provider.

He emphasised that legal and safe abortion care service should only be provided by a trained provider and in an approved environment, after counselling and a clinical assessment had been done.

The Senior Manager of DKT International Ghana, Ms Eunice Sefa, said the demonstration formed part of the organisation’s programme dubbed, “Papayas Training Activation,” which demystified MVA as a key component to women’s access to legal and safe abortion.