STOP husbands & pastors from preventing, delaying or discouraging lifesaving C-sections

STOP husbands & pastors from preventing, delaying or discouraging lifesaving C-sections

June 14, 2022
Signatures: 1,030Next Goal: 1,500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Dilys Sillah

I came across a story in the Ghanaian media, making reference to a husband who ‘decided to allow’ his wife to have a Caesarian birth as she was ‘suffering’ too much. Why did the doctors wait? 

I was so troubled by this, I contacted a couple of doctors in Ghana to ask if permission was needed for an expectant mother to have a
C-section performed; the response was not encouraging. Though a spouse’s permission is not typically expressly sought by the doctors, the spouse can stop or delay the wife in having a C-section because they don’t deem it necessary or because there is an additional cost involved. Expectant mothers whose lives and that of their unborn child/children hang in the balance, do not feel empowered enough to give permission to the doctors to cut them unless sanctioned by the husband; the hands of the doctors are invariably tied.

There is another challenge with pastors telling their congregants that caesareans are not godly and should not be entertained. This dangerous view has been followed by some and has resulted in fatalities. Not all women come from affluent or educated backgrounds, allowing them the autonomy required over their bodies, it is our responsibility to be that voice. 

Doctors in Ghana have confirmed these disturbing facts, some of which I have personally been aware of and spoken out against in times past. 

We need an initiative that encourages and empowers women to take control of their pregnancies and reduce maternal mortality and stillbirth rates, which typically are high in this part of the world. 

We need to make it illegal for religious leaders to instruct their members to reject urgent medical attention in regards to cesarean births specifically. 

We need to make it illegal for a husband to delay, prevent or deny his wife a C-section if the doctors advise it is necessary, whether this delay, prevention or denial is done through coercion, fear or violence.

There should be relative costs determined prior to delivery where possible, for poorer expectant mothers to have access to cesarean operations if required; money should not be a barrier as these doctors intimated. Though the NHIS has gone some way in addressing this, knowledge of the services and easy access to care is what gives it greater value. 

It is imperative that there are no barriers to basic obstetric care for expectant mothers in Ghana, so this needs to be given priority to help reduce deaths, and promote the education of the process of pregnancy and childbirth as well as pregnancy prevention education, to help in this drive to empower our women.

We are already greatly disadvantaged when it comes to the mortality rates of expectant mothers and their children; the Ghanaian woman should not have to contend with yet another unnecessary evil by being so maligned that she cannot give consent to a procedure to give her and her baby a fighting chance.

C-sections save lives, denial loses them.

Attn: Ministry for Social Welfare 
Attorney General's Department 
Ministry of Health

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Signatures: 1,030Next Goal: 1,500
Support now