Feb 18, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Sustained awareness of the services offered at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC)’s Family Planning Clinic is critical to helping women access safe abortions.
During an interview with Kaieteur News, Dr. Natasha France, an Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist (OBGYN) at GPHC‘s Family Planning Clinic, explained that counselling and sensitizing women about the dangers of self-induced abortions as well as making them aware of the safe abortion option that is available to them via the hospital is among the essential services offered by the clinic.
Dr. France, who is also the Director at the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Residency Programme, explained however, that while the safe abortion service is open to the public free of cost, continuous education and awareness about its availability is important to helping women choose that option.
At present, Dr. France noted that many women still opt to “self-administer” treatment to terminate pregnancies, which results in a variety of health complications.
She explained that most times they would have used Misoprostol (or Cytotec), to self-induce the abortions.
“These drugs can be obtained from a pharmacy or sometimes the women would use other concoctions to induce an abortion but they can result in excessive bleeding and a host of other life-threatening complications,” she said. At the time, she was making reference to a recent survey on women who were diagnosed at GPHC with health complications related to self-induced abortions.
The study revealed that the primary reasons for the self-induced abortions by the women were due to a lack of knowledge of the free family planning services in the public health care system and the inability to afford safe abortions privately.
According to the study, of 25 women diagnosed with self-induced abortion, 96 percent used Misoprostrol.
The study revealed too that the most common reason given for self-inducing is a lack of stable finances to access the service privately and the lack of awareness that abortion services are available at the GPHC.
Additionally, the research revealed that 68 percent of women were not on contraception at the time of conception because of concerns over side effects, or inability to afford, and lack of knowledge of where to access contraception.
As such, Dr. France stressed that education is essential to helping persons understand the importance of accessing the service offered via GPHC’s Family Planning Clinic.
“There is need to improve public awareness of the availability of the services to improve access to safe abortions and effective contraception,” the OBGYN added.
She noted too that many women have benefited from the safe abortion service since GPHC started offering it.
She stressed, nonetheless, that educating women on the facts of how contraceptives can help them avoid unplanned pregnancies also helps safeguard them against having to terminate their pregnancy.
“We continue to provide them with the information on contraceptive methods many of which are available to them at GPHC free of cost… ”she said of services offered at the GPHC.
In addition, the OBGYN said that local family planning and reproductive health NGO–the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA), has been instrumental in helping the clinic provide the list of essential services.
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