AFRICA NEWS, GHANA
A research carried out in the Bongo District of Ghana in 2011 revealed that the District recorded more teenage pregnancies and illegal abortions.
The investigations were carried out by the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR) in collaboration with the Mission of Hope for Society Foundation and the Ghana Health Service.
The research indicated that many boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 10 years respectively started sex without knowledge about adolescents and reproductive health, which has led to the high teenage pregnancies and high illegal abortions recorded in the district.
The ARHR since 2007 has been facilitating and sponsoring yearly studies in the District on the performance of the healthcare services provided to the citizens in the district. It is in part, aimed at monitoring the achievements of the health MDG four, five and six, and so the 2011 research findings formed part of the exercise.
The report also revealed low patronage for family planning services, Poor service rendered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), stressing that despite the NHIS, clients still buy some of the medicines from pharmacy shops without refund.
It further revealed the long waiting times, discrimination between those paying cash for the service and those with NHIS and that the former were served faster than those with the latter.
The findings also disclosed delays in the issuance of the NHIS cards and said the two to three months period that subscribers take to have their cards should be reviewed and issued on time to enable patients to access health care.
It also complained of the understaffed health workers in the District health facilities and said it was undermining health delivery system.
The research highlighted that there was an increase in Antenatal Care patronage, improvement in health education, improvement in access to health care, improvement in efficacy of treatment provided by health personnel and increase in health facility usage, especially by pregnant and expectant mothers.
The findings attributed the low patronage of the family planning services to both religious and cultural dimensions and called for vigorous sex and family planning education at all levels in the District, including households and communities.
It also expressed dismay about the rise in teenage pregnancy cases and illegal abortions in the area and called for urgent need for education at schools, households and individual family levels and in all communities in the District.
The investigations further recommended that the National Health Insurance Authority publicize the list of drugs covered by the scheme to the general public.
The ARHR project officer, Mr Hur Sidur, gave the parameters used for this year’s monitored results as availability of health facilities and the distances traveled by clients to access health services.
It also looked at availability of staff and staff attitude towards clients in the health facilities, staff strength in the health facilities, availability of logistics and equipment in the health facilities, conditions and relationship between health staff and clients in accessing services, the role of National health insurance scheme in facilitating access to health care and the knowledge of adolescent boys and girls on sexual and reproductive health.
He said the study also tried to find out how assertive health consumers are demanding for the health rights-access to health information and health services in the District and also contributing their part in improving health care services in the District
Mr. Abagmbire Thomas, a representative of Mission of Hope for Society Foundation, who gave the background of the project and the purpose of the report said, it was to document the experiences and perceptions of the health service clients, particularly, women and children in the Bongo district; and also to serve as the bases upon which stakeholders in health could be engaged for improvement.
He said from the yearly monitored reports, it has been clear that progress has been made but there was the need to double the pace of work in order to meet the health MDGs target by 2015.