Abortion-Related Help - Seeking Behaviours among Females in the Tema Metropolis

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Ghana


Teenage pregnancies and abortion cases reported to health facilities in the Tema Metropolis have been increasing over the years. Anecdotally, community pharmacies are also reporting of increases in request for medicines that have abortifacient properties. It is against this background that this study seeks to identify abortion help-seeking behaviours of females in the metropolis when saddled with unwanted pregnancies. The study focuses on identifying where women in the metropolis go for abortion services and reasons for resorting to abortion. It also assesses the knowledge and perception of females on abortion. It also determines the extent of pharmaceutical use in inducing abortion, assesses knowledge of provisions of the Abortion Law in Ghana as well as knowledge of contraceptives among females. The study was cross-sectional and involved interviewing three (3) key informants, three hundred (300) women and thirty (30) community pharmacists, chemical sellers, dispensing technicians and pharmacy counter assistants in the metropolis. Structured questionnaire and essay writing on abortion by sixty-five (65) senior high school students were some of the tools used for data collection. Findings The majority of places within the metropolis where women seek abortion services did not guarantee safe abortion. An appreciable proportion of the population knew of a place where abortion services could be obtained and most of these facilities were privately-owned and were in Tema Township. Reasons for resorting to abortion were varied and included financial difficulties, unplanned pregnancy, the need to continue one‟s education, maintaining family reputation in society, immaturity, denial of responsibility for the pregnancy by the male partner and poor child spacing. The average number of abortion requests that pharmacies/chemical shops received per day was two and the most requested medicine was Cytotec. Many women knew of at least one modern method of contraception, with the condom being the most known contraceptive. The knowledge of the provision of the abortion law in Ghana is poor and many women are confused as to what regulates abortion in Ghana. Recommendations The Health Promotion and the Adolescent and Reproductive Health Units of the Tema Metro Health Directorate need to step up education to encourage uptake of contraceptives, especially at the community level. The Adolescent and Reproductive Health Units of the various clinics in the metropolis need to be made friendlier and readily accessible. The units should also team up with the health promotion units to educate the populace, especially the youth, on the consequences of unsafe abortion and the provisions of the law on abortion. The Pharmacy Council and the Food and Drugs Board must step up the monitoring and enforcement of regulations on the supply of prescription-only medicines, especially those with abortifacient properties in the metropolis.


Thesis (MpH) - University of Ghana, 2008