Ghana has made impressive gains in economic growth and social development, elevating the country to lower middle-income status. However, the socioeconomic development and progress made over recent decades has not been inclusive, leaving some sectors lagging behind with respect to progress, and some key sectors, especially improvements in maternal health. As a result, maternal mortality was declared to be a national emergency in 2008. The high maternal mortality ratio is associated with a weak health system and low access to quality health services, including low access to skilled birth attendance, human resource shortages, and high unmet need for family planning (FP).
FP services have been expanding in Ghana for the last 50 years through public and private service providers. Our government-led public education programs on family planning have been successful in creating awareness and addressing misconceptions; however, changes in attitudes and practices have not been encouraging, as there are still high rates of unwanted and mistimed births amongst Ghanaian women, and both men and women still prefer large families.
Cognizant of the low coverage and utilisation of FP services, the Government of Ghana (GOG) has made commitments to reach more women, youth, and adolescents by making these services affordable, accessible, and equitable for all population groups. The government has put in place a comprehensive multisector FP programme to increase demand for and use of family planning as priority interventions in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Acceleration Framework (MAF). This Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) is being developed as part of the comprehensive multisectoral strategy to reposition FP programs in Ghana and translate policy intent into realistic actionable programme targets and activities.
The CIP calls for a concerted action amongst public, private, civil society, faith-based, and nongovernmental organisations to expand family planning services and strengthen our health system to meet the bold commitments the GoG made at the London Summit in July 2012. This bold and ambitious but realistic plan is the blueprint to which all stakeholders will refer when working on family planning in Ghana. It has been crafted through an evidence-based, extensive consultative process encompassing globally proven interventions contextualised to local realities.