The Ekumfi District Health Director of the Ghana Health Service in the Central Region, Abigail Nyarkoh-Cudjoe, has warned that consumption of alcohol and smoking by women increases their risk of contracting breast and cervical cancers.
She said although other risk factors could be cited, alcohol consumption and smoking by women pose a great threat to Ghana’s fight against breast and cervical cancers, that have become leading causes of death among women, urging women to do regular examinations for early detection and cure.
She was speaking on Tuesday at Ekumfi Imuna in the Central Region, at a community health outreach programme by the Community Empowerment Network (COMENet) Ghana, an association made up of students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The programme dubbed ‘Promoting Healthy Communities for Sustainable Development’ offered the fishing community talks on breast and cervical cancers and family planning, as well as free breast and cervical cancer screening, HIV/AIDS counseling and testing among others.
It brought together health experts, nurses, women and men as well as school girls from basic schools at Imuna.
Partnering with the Department of Gender, Ghana AIDS Commission, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), Ghana Health Service and the Ekumfi District Assembly, the group is seeking to reduce the high number of deaths among reproductive women, and the soaring teenage pregnancy at Ekumfi Imuna.
The Ekumfi District, carved out of the Mfantsiman Municipality during the era of late President Atta Mills, is plagued with poverty, a high unemployment rate, teenage pregnancy, poor health system among other unfavourable conditions.
Speaking to journalists, a member of COMNet and Central Regional Director of the Department of Gender, Thywill Eyrah Kpe, explained that, “We realized that Ekumfi is quite disadvantaged when it comes to access to health care, so we looked at the reproductive health of the community; also, we realized poverty and teenage pregnancy are high in the community, and that informed our being here.”
Figures from the 2010 Population and Housing Census on the District, show that, about four in ten of the population of Ekumfi, aged twelve and others, are married, while its General Fertility Rate of 111.3 births per 1000 women, is the ninth highest for the Central Region, and COMNet has pledged to liaise with other stakeholders to tackle these social issues in the district.