The impact of the novel coronavirus is said to have adversely affected the gains that have been made in Ghana and the world’s reproductive health care.
Ghana for instance, has made the services of family planning accessible and at no cost in some occasions geared towards reducing maternal deaths, promoting gender equality and women’s rights as well as effective family planning.
This is in line with activities put in place towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Unfortunately, there is a disruption of supply chains across the world due to COVID-19 lockdown of some countries, this has adversely affected the availability of contraceptives in Ghana.
The implication is that, it increases the risk of unintended and unwanted pregnancies. This is not only posing a burden on the country’s merger resources but women and adolescent girls who carry this burden are worse affected.
It is against this backdrop that, the Upper East Regional Population Officer, Alosiba Akare Azam has made a clarion call for the incorporation of sexual and reproductive health care and issues of gender-based violence in the fight against the pandemic.
Mr. Azam disclosed this in a statement copied to A1 NEWS in commemoration of the 2020 World Population Day.
“Additionally, as health systems are fighting to cope in the midst of the virus, sexual and reproductive health services are being given little attention whilst gender-based violence is also being heightened in some communities especially during lockdowns. These have the tendency to reverse the progress that had been made in the area of gender equality and women’s rights”.
The United Nations has set aside 11th July each year as World Population Day to highlight key population issues at the global and national levels and the urgent need to review existing policies and programmes to address them.
The 2020 World Population Day which is celebrated by the National Population Council in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and partners is under the theme, “Putting the brakes on Covid-19: how to safeguard the health and rights of women and girls now”.
The impact of the Covid-19 in Ghana led to a closure of both public and private schools and total shutdown of public gatherings to stem its spread.
In that regard, the Upper East Regional Population Officer Mr. Azam expressed fears that its consequences could spark an increase of unwanted pregnancies in the region.
“Peeping into the society and in conversations with teachers and the public, many girls at the basic school level have become pregnant in the region during this COVID-19 period”.
Mr. Azam bemoaned that, issues such as deep-seated cultural beliefs and harmful practices, low family planning uptake by adolescents, low male involvement in family planning, poor community involvement in adolescent sexual and reproductive health remains a challenge in the area of reproductive health care in the Upper East Region.
He has therefore called for a concerted effort towards attaining some of the SDGs by 2030.
“Policy makers, stakeholder especially community, traditional and religious leaders, women and youth groups and the media and indeed all hands must be on deck to ensure that the transformative goals of zero maternal death, zero unmet need for family planning and zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices are achieved in Upper East Region and Ghana by 2030 – the deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Source: |A1radioonline.com|101.1MHZ|Joshua Asaah|Ghana