Koforidua (E/R), March 26, GNA - Participants at a workshop in Koforidua have advocated for a law that will make it mandatory for men who impregnate women to give them financial support during the pregnancy.
The participants at a dissemination of preliminary results of research on the impact of abuse and tension on pregnant women on the mental development of the child delivered, said with a law in place, men who impregnate women will provide financial maintenance for the pregnant women until she delivers.
They argued that such a law could help remove the pressure and stress on pregnant women which turn to negatively affect the mental development of the children they give birth to.
The participants called for the provision of shelters for pregnant women in distress.
The participants urged traditional authorities to help reduce penalties paid by men who impregnated their fiancées before performing the marriage rites.
They explained that such a gesture could encourage many young men to perform the marriage rites of their fiancées.
The participants called the empowerment of women to aid them to develop self confidence that would make them to be economically independent to help reduce the general stress of women who had to depend on their male partners for their economic survival.
The participants also called on parents to desist from sending away from the home their pregnant teenage daughters to stay with men who got them pregnant.
This is because in many instances, the ladies undergo a lot of stress especially when their male partners are not employed.
Professor Joseph Osafo of the Psychology Department of the University of Ghana and a member of the research team, said many pregnant women in cohabitation relationship often suffer intimate and sexual abuse which turn to have effect on the unborn babies.
He said during the research, 63 per cent of the respondent in Koforidua in the Eastern Region were pregnant women living in cohabitation relationship with the men who impregnated them.
Prof Osafo said many of the abuse of children by their mothers were a carryover of the abuse suffered by the mothers when they were pregnant.
Prof Osafo urged religious bodies to use their platform to educate men to respect pregnant women and support them and encourage women to be economically independent.
Dr Patricia Akweongo of the School of Public Health of the University of Ghana, said the research would be conducted in phases for the next 25 years to look at the effect of stress on pregnant women on the mental development of the children they delivered.
She said the research was being conducted in several countries including Jamaica, Philippines, South Africa, Romania, Vietnam, Sri-Lanka and Ghana.
Dr Akweongo said the research was being sponsored by the a number of development partners including the Bortnar Foundation of the United Kingdom, World Health Organization and UNICEF.
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