Mr Stephen Bordotsiah, Director, Ghana Health Service, Bongo District, says family planning is key to reducing maternal and child deaths while promoting the well-being and healthy growth of women and children.
He said when families accepted and adopted family planning methods as part of their sexual and reproductive life, it would not only allow the couple to plan on the number of children to have but would relieve the woman of pressure which in most cases led to complications during childbirth.
Statistics from the Ghana Health Service have indicated that the Upper East Region has witnessed a surge in maternal deaths over the last three years with the region, recording 31 deaths in 2019 which increased to 36 and 43 in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Bongo, Mr Bordotsiah said although there were a number of factors resulting in the increased maternal deaths in the region, lack of family planning practices among families, allowing the women to give birth to so many children was key.
He said the acceptability rate in the district was not encouraging and attributed the situation to myths and misconceptions held by residents which made it difficult for family planning to be accepted and practised.
He said due to cultural certain coupled with a high illiteracy rate, many people in the district held the perception that family planning could lead to barrenness and make men sterile.
“Actually, family planning is not to stop families from delivering but a way to plan so that at least the women are able to deliver and the children will be healthy and women are able to live long.
“This is because one of the challenges we have seen in the maternal deaths that we have are the women who have delivered a number of times and here it is common but the family planning is actually to enable the families to plan on the number of children they would want to have and can comfortably take care of, the time and maintained the health of the woman,” he said.
On acceptability rate, the District Director revealed that the district recorded 33.9 per cent in 2019, 31.8 per cent in 2020 and 37.8 per cent in 2021 and added that it was below the national average rate of 42 per cent.
This, he appealed to Ghanaians to accept and adopt family planning practices as part of their sexual and reproductive issues to help reduce maternal deaths and promote healthy living.
Mr Bordotsiah reiterated the resolve of the directorate to intensify education at the community level and added that men and the traditional authorities would be engaged to ensure that the situation was improved.