Women have been cautioned against the repeated use of emergency contraceptive pills as it could affect their menstrual circle and hamper their future delivery.
Emergency contraception, or post-coital contraception, refers to methods of contraception that could be used to prevent pregnancy in the first few days after unprotected sexual intercourse.
Health experts have said contraceptives were not to be taken more than twice in a year but many young women engaged in unprotected sex and repeatedly take them to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Mrs Mavis Narh, Central Regional Programmes Coordinator of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the pills were meant for emergency use only but noted some young girls have resorted to it as their routine family planning method.
She was speaking at the quarterly meeting of the Central Regional Technical Working Committee on Family Panning in Cape Coast.
The meeting, funded by the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA), was to help them as stakeholders monitor, review and discuss family planning activities in the region.
“The emergency pills when used as a regular contraceptive, could alter the one’s menstrual cycle and hamper future delivery,” she said.
She said many women report to hospitals with various complications as a result of the abuse of these emergency contraceptives hence the need for care to be taken.
Mrs Narh advised young women to rather access the many available routine Family Planning methods and report cases of side effects to the health centres instead of resorting to emergency pills.
She said women who regularly use the emergency contraceptive were also susceptible to getting pregnant after having sexual intercourse at a time when they felt they were in their safe period.
She said there is the need to intensify family planning education to educate women on the issue to ensure that they were equipped with the correct information.
Mrs Beatrice Essilfie, Director of Nursing Services in charge of Public Health at the Regional Heath Directorate, urged the public to demystify the outmoded socio-cultural barriers that militate against the use of family planning services.
She said withholding family planning services was more dangerous than providing it and called on all stakeholders to intensify their sensitisation programmes to improve family planning service provision.
Giving an overview of family planning acceptance in the region, Mrs Essilfie said the region had a family planning acceptor rate of 29.7 per cent as of 2016 and 15.6 per cent as of May this year.
She said the GHS in collaboration with reproductive health stakeholders were helping to establish Adolescent Health Clubs (AHC) in all Senior High Schools to provide health services, tailored to the needs of the adolescent.
Members of the technical working committee said as long as young people remain sexually active, they would not stop engaging in sex, therefore, there was the need to make information on reproductive health available.
In this regard, they encouraged parents and guardians to engage their children in reproductive health education and guide them to make informed decisions about family planning.
They mentioned negative perceptions, discriminatory attitudes, lack of trained service personnel in some family planning methods, lack of education, lack of male involvement, socio-cultural as well as religious beliefs as some of the major hindrances to the efforts by stakeholders.