DKT Creates Safe Abortion Services Awareness

Dr. Ali Samba demonstrating how the MVA is done.

Global non-profit social enterprise, DKT International Ghana, has held a sensitization workshop for media personalities on safe abortion services.
The meeting, dubbed Papaya training, was held in collaboration with DKT WomanCare, to commemorate this year’s International Safe Abortion Day, marked on September 28.
Led by consultant obstetrician gynaecologist, master trainer of comprehensive abortion care services, and Medical Director of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Ali Samba, the training took participants through the nitty-gritty of abortion including the WHO recommended abortion services and the complications associated with unsafe abortion.

Dr. Samba noted that more than half of pregnancies in Ghana are unintended with a significant number of pregnant women wanting to terminate their pregnancies.

He, however, noted that due to factors such as cost, societal stigma, unavailability of services and poor healthcare provider attitude, most women who want abortion services resort to unsafe methods.
“According to the Ghana Statistical Service, almost 1 in 6 (15%) of women in reproductive age in Ghana have had an unsafe abortion (GSS, 2016), with almost 1/3 of women in rural areas who go through abortion use illegal and nonmedical methods (GMHS, 2017),” he said.

He added that 30 women die out of every 100,000 unsafe abortions conducted in developed regions. But in developing regions, the number rises to 220 deaths per 100,000 unsafe abortions, and 520 deaths per 100,000 unsafe abortions in sub-Saharan Africa.

DKT Regional Director, Kwesi Yawson

Dr Samba said Ghana practices three levels of care starting from pregnancy prevention, where the woman avoids sex or uses contraception. “When the woman gets pregnant, providing safe abortion services at an affordable cost, is the next level.

If they don’t come for the safe services or have access to the safe services then they have unsafe abortion, so we need to manage the complication that comes with it and then the post abortion care and also provide family planning services,” he said.

Dr. Samba advocated for women to opt for safe abortions, adding that they come with less complications.
“Researchers have found that women are 14 times more likely to die from pregnancy related complications than from complications of safe abortion.”
He also demystified the use of one of the WHO recommended safe abortion methods, Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) by demonstrating how the procedure is conducted using papaya.

Regional Director, DTK Anglophone Kwesi Yawson, said the workshop was aimed at sensitising story tellers on safe abortion services.

He said DKT is not only focused on the provision of family planning products like its KISS, Fiesta or Lydia brands but also maternal health.

“One of the main causes of maternal mortality is unsafe abortion so we engaged the media so they can better educate the consuming public about the right way to access this service.

We used pawpaw because we want to demystify the whole abortion process so they are better informed to tell the right stories,” he added.

Mr. Yawson said DKT International has been in the country for the past 10 years making contraceptive products accessible to the population.

“We have in the past played in the private space which is pharmacies, drug stores and private hospitals. In recent times, since 2017, we have had very good collaboration with the Ghana health service which means that they see the contribution we make in the space,” he added.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri