Deputy Minister of Heal-th, Dr. Victor Asare Bampoe, has launched the 2015 family planning week in Accra, to increase awareness on the use of contraceptives, condoms and lubricants.
This is to help individuals and married couples make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health.
The week-long event, which was on the theme: “Family planning, know your options,” coincided with the dissemination of two documents; National Condom and Lubricant Strategy (NCLS) and the Ghana Family Planning Costed Implementation (GFPCI), developed to slow down Ghana’s rapid population growth.
The programme, which would be observed at the district and regional levels, seeks to prevent unwanted pregnancies among the youth and married couples.
According to Dr. Bampoe, there was an urgent need to make family planning an integral part of national development efforts.
“The 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (HDS) indicated that the use of modern contraceptive methods among married women was 23 per cent, which means that Ghana is far from achieving its targets for contraceptive prevalence which is 50 per cent by 2020,”he said.
Dr. Bampoe noted that 23 per cent contraceptive prevalence rate meant that one in four Ghanaian women had an unmet need for contraception, indicating that one out of four married women were not using or did not have access to any contraceptive method.
He said family planning reduced maternal deaths by simply preventing unintended pregnancies and reducing the number of women exposed to risks associated with pregnancy and unsafe abortions.
The NCLS 2016-2020 represents the government’s commitment to ensure quality sexual and reproductive health for all Ghanaians. It is expected to ensure a decrease in sexually transmitted diseases, increase access to condoms and lubricants as a foster supportive social and political environment for HIV and FP programming prevention in the country.
The strategy is aligned to existing national strategic framework, which specifies the complementary roles of all partners in ensuring effective and sustained programmes to promote the condom and lubricant market to meet the demands of the sexually active Ghanaian.
The estimated total budget for implementing the NCLS is approximately 2,956,799 U.S dollars, and the GFPCIP analyses key issues and barriers to family planning, and provides a technical strategy to guide investments over the next five years.
Full implementation of the GFPCIP will increase the number of women in Ghana currently using modern contraception from approximately 1.46 million users in 2015 to 1.93 million in 2020.
The Greater Accra Region’s population is growing rapidly, and with only 26.5 per cent of married women using any method of family planning, the rate of growth is unlikely to slow down.
The HDS indicated that if women in the region continue to have nearly three children each, its population could double by 2040.
A larger population will continue to hinder the region’s development progress, and increased use of family planning could alleviate food insecurity, unemployment and underemployment.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey