“Include family planning in NHIS”
National Population Council (NPC) Bono Regional Officer Davis Yeboah Aboagye has appealed to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to include family planning services in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He said this would motivate and increase contraceptive use among both married and sexually active adults to control population growth, ensure spacing between children and reduce unwanted pregnancies.
Speaking to journalists in Sunyani, Mr Aboagye attributed the increasing cases of unsafe abortions in the country to negative religious and socio-cultural beliefs about contraceptive use.
He said family planning is vital to population management, which plays a central role in national development.
Mr Aboagye expressed concern that a bill to ‘cover’ family planning services in the NHIS has remained in Parliament since 2011.
According to him, religious and sociocultural beliefs, low economic status, low levels of education, and perceived side effects of contraceptive use were barriers and causes of low contraceptive uptake, “which no doubt contributes to the increased number of unwanted and unsafe abortions in Ghana.”
Mr Aboagye stated that women’s empowerment and gender equality are necessary for the progress of society, so “it is vital for all stakeholders to join forces with the government to deal with the country’s rapid population growth” .
He said World Contraceptive Day (WCD), launched in 2017 and observed on September 26 each year, focuses on raising awareness of contraceptive knowledge and family planning so young people can make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
The Ghanaian government reaffirmed the Family Planning Action Program to recognize reproductive health and rights as the basis for development, hence the aspiration to reach a 50 percent contraceptive prevalence rate by 2034, Mr Aboagye said.
He said the goal of the revised 2017 national population policy is to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods among currently married women from 22 percent in 2014 to 35 percent in 2024 and to 50 percent in 2034.