Abused women give birth to violent children - Research

Experts from Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR) have noted that violence against pregnant women has an alarming effect on unborn babies.

They added that babies of women who suffered various forms of violence showed some defects, which affect their future lives.

This was revealed by a consultant of ARHR, Senanu Abgozo, at a day’s district meeting  to share  results of adolescent scorecards accountability  assessments  the group conducted  at the Axim Government Hospital, Benyadze Health Centre and Ewoku Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compound  in the Nzema East municipality of the Western Region,  since September, this year.

The ARHR meeting held in collaboration with Rights and Responsibilities Initiatives Ghana was supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Canada.

He said a study  conducted by researchers  from the University of Ghana  in  some  parts of Eastern Region, showed that pregnant women who experienced  various  forms  of  violence during pregnancies transferred  some  of the hormones to the children.

“Children of such abused women tend to become violent. Indeed, the result was alarming. Our concern is also about whether there is  a  collaboration among hospitals and institutions that deal with violence and criminal  cases,  including   all forms of  violence  against  the adolescent. Our findings on legal and referral cases at the three health providers were not encouraging,” Mr Agbozo said.

He told the participants that violence against the  adolescents should be condemned by  all stakeholders  in the society, and noted  that  interference   by chiefs and  queen mothers and other elders  of society, to settle cases  out of the legal settings was illegal and should be discouraged.

The UNFPA expert advocated the need for  community leaders  to  have contacts  of  state institutions that dealt with crime and genders issues,  especially violence against  the   adolescents,  and also  collaborate to reduce  such cases.

On basic facilities by the health  providers, including   accessibility and   water supply, he reported that,  although, the  research showed some good results,  with Axim and Dadwen, scoring 100 per cent, there was  more room for  improvement, especially staffing, facility operations and  quality  of services.

Mr Abgozo said: “The facilities need to improve accessibility for family planning service, counselling on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and abortion cases.  Accessibility must also include outreach programmes and making the facilities more user-friendly. For affordability, services came with some other costs.”

Rhema Andah also from ARHR, advised  health facilities  to  strive to  provide better services to the adolescents  and  not to  expose  them to unnecessary  challenges in healthcare.

The queen mother of the Apewosika community   in Axim, Nana Adwoa Wirom, blamed parents as key to challenges facing the safety, security and future of the adolescents in the area, and mentioned that they always wanted crime against girls abused, to be settled at home.

An officer from  the Department of Gender  in the Western Region, Ellen Owusu,  indicated that violence  against the  adolescents  and  women were alarming, and insisted that parents had critical role to reduce the stigma among the population, hinting that “DOVVSU had pledged  to get  scapegoats in such cases.”

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, AXIM

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