CEGRAD Trains Health Workers

A training workshop on the theme “Gender Sensitive Ethical Practice in Health Care Delivery” has been held for health practitioners and managers at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH). The training workshop, which was organised by the Centre for Gender Advocacy and Documentation (CEGRAD) in conjunction with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the School of Medical Sciences, brought together health managers and nurses across the country. Addressing the participants on Gender Sensitive Ethical Practice in Healthcare Delivery, the immediate past Director of CEGRAD, Prof. Akua Britwum, called on health managers to create a conducive environment for female health workers to enable them to report cases of sexual harassment. She explained that sexual harassment-free environment in healthcare delivery was a pre-condition for quality health services. To this end, Prof. Britwum charged health managers to develop sexual harassment policy to deal with such cases. She wondered why some irresponsible men who indulged in sexual harassment accused their victims of their mode of dressing at the workplace. Citing an example in Pakistan, she said, women who were dressed in burqa -an outerwear that covers the entire body except the eyes and hands, worn by some Muslim women - also complained of sexual harassment, saying the argument about women’s mode of dressing was untenable. For his part, a lecturer at the School of Medical Sciences, Dr. Evans Agbeno, who took participants through Gender and Healthcare delivery, cautioned Ghanaian men to desist from using aphrodisiac drugs due to their harmful effects. According to him, sexual enhancement drugs could be effective but their long term effects could be injurious to the kidney and liver. He advised; “Once there is penetration, it takes an average man 3 minutes to have orgasm, whilst it takes women 8-13 minutes to also reach orgasm. So don’t use these drugs.” He called on practitioners to sensitise the populace on family planning methods to help do away with the many misconceptions that continue to inhibit the use of the methods among Ghanaians. Dr. Agbeno revealed that in 2016, only seven men in the Central Region adopted the vasectomy method without informing their spouses. He, consequently, urged women to encourage their husbands to adopt vasectomy and disabused their minds from the perception they have about their husbands’ decision to use vasectomy. He said there were lot of emerging issues with Gender and Health implications in the country, saying that at the CCTH, husbands were permitted to be at the maternity ward during caesarian section and sometimes they were even allowed to cut the cord of their babies. Giving an overview of the Health Sector Gender Policy, the Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Genecology, SMS, Dr. Joseph Adu, said the policy was introduced in 2009 by the Ministry of Health. He said the policy was to promote professional ethics and human rights among health workers in the delivery of healthcare. Touching on strategies for Gender Sensitive Programme Reforms and Practices, the Director of CEGRAD, Dr. Genevieve Adukpo, called on health authorities to ensure that the activities and outputs of programmes should benefit both women and men by addressing their different needs and capacities. She indicated that CEGRAD had position itself to assist healthcare facilities as partners to promote gender equity and could even assist them to design gender and sexual harassment policies. Speaking on “Introduction to Basic Concepts in Gender”, a Research Assistant at CEGRAD, Ms. Amanda Odoi, explained patriarchy as a system of power relations in which women are subordinated to men. She pointed out family, religion, economic and education as the social institutions that reinforce women’s subordination. She, however, admitted that women also wield enormous powers under patriarchy, in the areas of Female Genital Mutilation, Widowhood rites, Mother and Maid, among others. Each Participant received a Certificate of Participation at the end of the workshop.