Issues of abortion are critical in Ghana largely due to its consequences on sexual and reproductive health. The negative perception society attaches to it makes it difficult for young females to access services and share their experiences. This paper examines the pre and post-abortion experiences of young females; a subject scarcely researched in the country. Twenty-one clients of Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) clinic at Cape Coast were interviewed. Guided by the biopsychosocial model, the study revealed that fear of societal stigma, shame, and rejection by partners, as well as self-imposed stigma constituted some of the pre and post-abortion experiences the respondents. Other experiences reported were bleeding, severe abdominal pain and psychological pain. The Ghana Health Services (GHS) and other service providers should partner the PPAG clinic to integrate psychosocial treatment in its abortion services while intensifying behaviour change communication and community-based stigma-reduction education in the Metropolis.
"BACKGROUND: Even in countries where the abortion law is technically liberal, the full application of the law has been delayed due to resistance on the part of providers to offer services. Ghana has a liberal law, allowing abortions for a wide range of indications. The current study sought to investigate factors associated with midwifery students' reported likelihood to provide abortion services. METHODS: Final-year students at 15 public midwifery training colleges participated in a computer-based survey. Demographic and attitudinal variables were tested against the outcome variable, likely to provide comprehensive abortion care (CAC) services, and those variables found to have a significant association in bivariate analysis were entered into a multivariate model. Marginal effects were assessed after the final logistic regression was conducted. RESULTS:A total of 853 out of 929 eligible students enrolled in the 15 public midwifery schools took the survey, for a response rate of 91.8%. In multivariate regression analysis, the factors significantly associated with reported likeliness to provide CAC services were having had an unplanned pregnancy, currently using contraception, feeling adequately prepared, agreeing it is a good thing women can get a legal abortion and having been exposed to multiple forms of education around surgical abortion. DISCUSSION: Midwifery students at Ghana's public midwifery training colleges report that they are likely to provide CAC. Ensuring that midwives-in-training are well trained in abortion services, as well as encouraging empathy in these students, may increase the number of providers of safe abortion care in Ghana."
Youth report embarrassment, cost, and poor access as barriers to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Interventions to address barriers like youth friendly services have yet to conclusively demonstrate impact on protective behaviours like condom or contraceptive use. SRH encompasses a range of services so we aimed to assess how perceived barriers differed depending on the service being sought between common services accessed by young people: HIV/STI testing, abortion, and contraception. 1203 Ghanaian youth were interviewed. Data was analysed to identify barriers by service type, demographics, and between high and low HIV prevalence communities. Being embarrassed or shy was the most commonly reported barrier across services. Overall being embarrassed or shy, fear of safety, fear of family finding out and cost were the most reported barriers across all services. Further analysis by service indicated that being embarrassed was a significantly greater barrier for HIV/STI testing and contraception when compared with abortion (p<0.001) and safety concerns and cost were significantly greater barriers for abortion and contraception compared with HIV/STI testing (p0.001). Efforts to develop interventions that consider the service being sought may help address the range of barriers faced by youth with diverse SRH needs.
BACKGROUND: Unsafe abortion is a major public health problem in Ghana; despite its liberal abortion law, access to safe, legal abortion in public health facilities is limited. Theory is often neglected as a tool for providing evidence to inform better practice; in this study we investigated the reasons for poor implementation of the policy in Ghana using Lipsky's theory of street-level bureaucracy to better understand how providers shape and implement policy and how provider-level barriers might be overcome. METHODS: In-depth interviews were conducted with 43 health professionals of different levels (managers, obstetricians, midwives) at three hospitals in Accra, as well as staff from smaller and private sector facilities. Relevant policy and related documents were also analysed. RESULTS: Findings confirm that health providers' views shape provision of safe-abortion services. Most prominently, providers experience conflicts between their religious and moral beliefs about the sanctity of (foetal) life and their duty to provide safe-abortion care. Obstetricians were more exposed to international debates, treaties, and safe-abortion practices and had better awareness of national research on the public health implications of unsafe abortions; these factors tempered their religious views. Midwives were more driven by fundamental religious values condemning abortion as sinful. In addition to personal views and dilemmas, 'social pressures' (perceived views of others concerning abortion) and the actions of facility managers affected providers' decision to (openly) provide abortion services. In order to achieve a workable balance between these pressures and duties, providers use their 'discretion' in deciding if and when to provide abortion services, and develop 'coping mechanisms' which impede implementation of abortion policy. CONCLUSIONS: The application of theory confirmed its utility in a lower-middle income setting and expanded its scope by showing that provider values and attitudes (not just resource constraints) modify providers' implementation of policy; moreover their power of modification is constrained by organisational hierarchies and mid-level managers. We also revealed differing responses of 'front line workers' regarding the pressures they face; whilst midwives are seen globally as providers of safe-abortion services, in Ghana the midwife cadre displays more negative attitudes towards them than doctors. These findings allow the identification of recommendations for evidence-based practice.
"BACKGROUND: Misoprostol has become a popular over the counter self-administered abortifacient in Ghana. This study aimed to compare the socio-demographic characteristics and clinical complications associated with misoprostol and Non-misoprostol induced abortions among patients admitted to a tertiary public health facility in Ghana. METHODS: This was a cross sectional study conducted at the gynaecological ward of Komfo Anomy Teaching Hospital (KATH), over a four-month period using a structured pre-tested questionnaire. Data were analysed using Chi-square, Fisher's exact and student t-tests. Factors associated with severe morbidity were examined using Poisson regression with robust error variance to estimate crude and adjusted relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). P 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: Overall, 126 misoprostol users and 126 misoprostol Non-users were recruited into the study. About 71% of the clients had self-induced abortions. Misoprostol users were more likely to be younger (p 0.001), single (p 0.001), nulliparos (p = 0.001), of higher educational background (p = 0.001), and unemployed (p 0.001), than misoprostol Non-users. Misoprostol users were more likely than Non-users to underg termination of pregnancy because the wanted to continue schooling (p 0.001) or were Not earning regular income to support a family (p = 0.001). Overall, 182 (72.2%) of the women (79.4% misoprostol users vs. 65.1% misoprostol Non-user; p = 0.01) suffered severe morbidity. Nulliparous women (adjusted RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 108-1.52) and those who had induced abortion after 12 weeks' gestation (adjusted RR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.18-1.57) were at increased risks of experiencing severe morbidity. The association between mode of abortion induction and severe morbidity was Not statistically significant (p = 0.06). CONCLUSION: Self-induced abortions using misoprostol is a common practice among women in this study; nearly three quarters of them suffered severe morbidity. Nonetheless, severe morbidity among misoprostol users and Non-users did Not differ significantly but was directly related to the gestational age at which the induced abortions occurred. Health education on the dangers of self-induced abortions and appropriate use of medication abortion could help reduce complications associated with induced abortions in Ghana."
"BACKGROUND: Making the final decision to terminate a pregnancy can be influenced by different circumstances involving various individuals. This paper describes the key players involved in the decision-making process regarding abortions among women who elected to undergo an induced abortion in a cosmopolitan urban setting in Ghana. METHODS:A retrospective cross-sectional mixed method study was conducted between January and December 2011. A total of 401 women with records in abortion logbooks were selected for an interviewer-administered questionnaire and an in-depth interview. Descriptive and multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to assess the quantitative data, and a thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative data. RESULTS: The findings of the study reveal that pregnant individuals, mothers of abortion-seekers, male partners, and ""Others"" (for example, friends, employers) were instrumental in making a decision to terminate unplanned/unwanted pregnancies. Several key factors influenced the decision-making processes, including aversion from the men responsible for the pregnancy, concerns about abnormalities/deformities in future births due to unprofessionally conducted abortions, and economic considerations. CONCLUSION:A number of individuals, such as friends, mothers, and male partners, influence the decision-making process regarding abortion among the participants of the study. Various targeted messages are needed for the various participants in the decision."
Low rates of contraception in much of sub-Saharan Africa result in unplanned pregnancies, which in young, unmarried women often result in unsafe abortion. Increasing the use of highly effective forms of contraception has the potential to reduce the abortion-related mortality and morbidity. In this cross-sectional study, information collected by the post-abortion family planning counsellor was analysed. De-identified data from one year (June 2012–May 2013) were extracted from the logbook. Multivariate linear and logistic regression was performed. A total of 612 women received care for post-abortion complications from June 2012 to May 2013. Young, unmarried women, and those who were being treated for complications arising from an induced versus spontaneous abortion were more likely to report they would use ‘abstinence’ as their method of contraception following their treatment. This vulnerable group could benefit from an increased uptake of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods to avoid repeated unplanned pregnancies and the potential of future unsafe abortions.
"BACKGROUND: Despite abortion being legal, complications from induced abortion are the second leading cause of maternal mortality in Ghana. The objective of this study was to understand the decision-making process associated with induced abortion in Ghana. STUDY DESIGN: Data were collected from female post-abortion patients, male partners, family planning nurses and obstetricians/gynecologists at two teaching hospitals in Ghana using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. RESULTS: While experiences differ for married and single women, men are involved in abortion decision making directly, through ""orders"" to abort, or indirectly, through denying responsibility for the pregnancy. Health care providers can be barriers to seeking safe abortions in this setting. CONCLUSIONS: Women who choose to terminate a pregnancy without their male partners' knowledge should have the means (both financial and social) to do so safely. Interventions with health care providers should discourage judgemental attitudes and emphasize individually focused patient care."
This study assessed coverage of reproductive health (RH) Issues--family planning (FP), abortion, and HIV--in the Ghanaian Daily Graphic newspaper. Using the composite week sampling technique, the researcher analyzed the contents of 62 editions of the paper. Prominence was measured using various attributes, and differences in mean coverage over time were assessed using analysis of variance. This review shows that coverage of RH Issues was extraordinarily poor, less than 1 percent each for FP, abortion, and HIV. RH news that was covered was given little prominence. These findings support the popular impression that the Daily Graphic does Not give priority to reproductive health Issues in its coverage. RH advocates need to develop innovative means of integrating RH content into existing media outlets.
Using a qualitative research methodology, twenty-four semi-structured interviews were conducted with women with induced abortion experiences at Korle Bu and Tema Hospitals in the Greater Accra Region, Ghana. Results suggest that these women tended Not to have knowledge of contraceptive methods prior to the abortion, while others were informed but failed to use for a variety of reasons ranging from rumours of side effects to personal negative experiences with modem contraceptive methods. A few women also stated contraceptive failure as a reason for their unintended pregnancies that were later aborted. Peer and reproductive health education must be reinforced in communities in the Greater Accra Region to curb adolescents engaging in early sex and should challenge the existing rumours associated with contraception in Ghana. In addition, family planning services in terms of appropriate methods with no side effects must be made available to women in the reproductive ages.