An Appraisal of Decision-Making Power in Reproductive Health among Women At Ejisu in the Ashanti Region

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994, adopted a more holistic and integrated approach to reproductive health (Agyarkwa, 2003). The World Health Organization (WHO) definition adopted for reproductive health embraces wider components which include clients decision-making in reproductive health. In response to the (ICPD), Ghana has formulated reproductive health service policy and standards. Among eight countries surveyed, Ghana provided the most extensive ‘blue print’ for reproductive service delivery (Hardee, et al, 1999). This feat underpins Ghana’s commitment to reproductive health issues. Despite the international and national concerns for reproductive health, decision-making in reproductive health decision-making has been traditionally dominated by men (Brown 1994). The question that arises then are: what is the role of women in reproductive-decision-making? Do women assert their reproductive rights, power and control through decision making in reproductive health issues? To answer these questions, among others, the case study method was used to interview women, opinion leaders, health officials and community leaders at Ejisu, one of the Municipal capitals in Ashanti Region. Through the structured interview guide and self-administered questionnaire, the study found that reproductive health decision-making is a shared responsibility between the husband and the wife. In addition, the study revealed that women assert their rights, control and power in reproductive health through decision-making in birth spacing, family planning services, fertility regulation and antenatal care. The study also revealed that there are certain factors that influence women’s reproductive behaviour. The study makes recommendations.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS,