are we saving womens livesGhana Women’s Voices (GWV) collaborated with the Community Access Unit of Ipas Ghana in the month of February, 2015 and trained over 150 pharmacists and Over The Counter Medicine Practitioners (OTCMP) in Eastern, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions of Ghana. This training was reviewed  on the 24th of November, 26th of November and 1st of December, 2015 in the Eastern region (Capital view hotel), Ashanti region (Miklin hotel) and Greater Accra region (Miklin hotel) respectively. The goal was to review and document the output of the pharmacists and the counter medicine practitioners training in 2014/2015 and share best practice and experience. The specific objectives were;

  1. To appreciate the effectiveness and challenges in applying knowledge and skills learnt at the training sessions. (2014/2015)
  2. To effectively monitor and document what we do (How to tell our own story better through documentation) in order to make an impact in our communities.
  3. To update participants’ knowledge on Medication Abortion and Pregnancy Dating using the Gestational Wheel.  

It was under the theme are we saving women’s lives?
In all the three meetings, . Ms Nana Yaa Appiah, the founder of Ghana Women’s Voice  in her introductory remarks noted that, a total of 150 pharmacists and sellers of over the counter practitioners have received training  in the Greater Accra, Eastern and Ashanti Regions of Ghana with the objective of reducing unsafe abortion in our communities. She informed the participants that the laws of Ghana permit abortion if the pregnancy is as a result of rape, incest or defilement of a female who is mentally challenged.  In addition, if the pregnancy threatens the physical and mental health of the woman or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer from a serious deformity, abortion is permitted by the laws of Ghana. It is, however unfortunate that the laws do not translate into effective implementation,  resulting in unsafe abortion on the increase, and hence a possible contributor to Ghana's high maternal mortality rate of 540 deaths per 100,000 live births. That is why GWV and IPAS Ghana have over the past 4 to 5 years equipped OTCMP and Pharmacists with the skills to reduce unsafe abortion in our communities. It is therefore the responsibility of health workers to refer clients to the next level of care; Ipas trained service providers in order to save a woman’s life.

Participants were also given a list of Ipas Ghana trained service providers and referral forms. The referral forms have two parts which they are supposed to keep part and give the other part to the client to be given to the Ipas Ghana service provider. This is to ensure that referrals and documentations are done properly.

Ms Nana Yaa Appiah appreciated the efforts of every participant and   encouraged them to make effective referral and translate the skills acquired during training into practice. She told the participants to also train their staff at their various pharmacy shops to ensure that they can represent them in their absence in the best possible way. She also informed them that Ipas Ghana and Ghana Women’s Voices will continuously engage them through monitoring visits. This is to ensure that they are making effective referrals and documentation and also enable them to tell their stories better.