Publication Title: Ghana Medical Journal
Abstract: To describe sexual and reproductive health among women in Accra and explore the burden of sexual and reproductive ill health among this urban population. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: We analysed data from the WHSA-II (n=2814), a cross-sectional household survey on women’s health, and supplemental data from an in-depth survey (n=400), focus groups discussions (n=22) and in-depth interviews (n=20) conducted among a subsample of women which focused specifically on reproductive health issues. Results: Modern contraceptive use was uncommon. More than one third of women reported ever using abstinence; condoms, injectables and the pill were the most commonly reported modern methods ever used. The total fertility rate among this sample of women was just 2.5 births. We found a considerable burden of sexual and reproductive ill health; one in ten women reported menstrual irregularities and almost one quarter of women reported symptoms of a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) in the past 6 months. Focus group results and indepth interviews reveal misperceptions about contraception side-effects and a lack of information. Conclusion: In urban Ghana, modern contraceptive use is low and a significant proportion of women experience reproductive ill health (defined here as menstrual irregularity or RTI, UTI, STI symptoms). Increased access to information, products and services about for preventive care and contraception could improve reproductive health. More research on healthy sexuality and the impact of reproductive ill health on sexual experience is needed.