“I enjoy maternal and reproductive health a lot, as women are special.”
Elizabeth works as a Quality Technical Assurance Officer at the Marie Stopes Ghana Kokmlemle centre in Accra. Her job is to work with Blue Star outlets – our social franchise partners - to supervise and ensure high quality standards are always adhered to.
With a background in nursing and midwifery, Elizabeth is used to seeing first-hand the desperate measures women will go to when it comes to unwanted pregnancy.
“Some clients try to terminate by themselves, but the medication can fail. They’ve purchased the tablets over the counter, and they haven’t been directed correctly. There was a client who took the tablet and didn’t notice any bleeding and she still felt pregnant. I did a scan and there was an incomplete abortion…the abortion had failed as she was further along than is right for the drug.”
In situations like this our team act quickly to deliver post-abortion care – immediate, life-saving treatment for women who have undergone unsafe abortion or suffered a miscarriage.
“When an abortion is not complete, products come out or the pregnancy can continue, and then infection can set in. This woman had an infection, so I counselled her and gave her a prescription, and she comes back in two weeks for a review. She’s going to take a long-acting contraceptive, like an implant, so she won’t get pregnant again.”
When clients come to us for help after an unsafe abortion, post-abortion care is only part of the service we offer. We endeavour to make sure every client received voluntary counselling and post-abortion family planning. By discussing a client’s lifestyle and helping her to make a decision on the best contraception for her, we can reduce the likelihood of that client falling unexpectedly pregnant and needing an abortion in the first place.
“Some people come with no idea about contraception. They just know about emergency contraception, they think that is all that’s available. There are lots of myths around contraception, such as they’ll put on a lot of weight and they won’t have periods, which will lead to fibroids. So the staff here need to clear these ideas out of clients’ minds.”
For Elizabeth, the best part about her job is helping people, no matter their circumstances.
“I enjoy maternal and reproductive health a lot, as women are special. I like helping women who find out they are pregnant and don’t want to be. I don’t like people to be in pain or to suffer - this is why I decided to be a nurse.”