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.”