Alarming U/E Region rated highest in teenage pregnancy - Gender Ministry

Nana Oye Lithur identified the need for prevention, support systems, and the need for research on sexual reproductive health.

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A Regional assessment of teenage pregnancy in Ghana shows that, the Upper East Region recorded the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in 2014, representing 15 per cent of the population sample.

It is followed by the Central Region, Volta Region and the Brong Ahafo Region with 14.8 per cent, 14.5 per cent  and 14. 1 per cent respectively.

The rest are Eastern region with 14 per cent, Western Region with 13.6 per cent, Ashanti Region with 12.6 per cent, Upper West Region with 12 per cent, Greater Accra Region 6.6 per cent and Northern Region having the lowest national prevalence rate of 4.4 per cent.

These were contained in the 2014 report on teenage pregnancy in Ghana compiled by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

The Sector Minister, Nana Oye Lithur who presented the report at a stakeholders conference’in Accra on teenage pregnancy on the theme “Assessing the situation in Ghana and the way forward’’,  disclosed to stakeholders some intervention programmes on teenage pregnancy in Ghana.

She identified the need for prevention, support systems, and the need for research on sexual reproductive health and adequate information for people living in commercial areas, as well as the need to provide some opportunities for teenage mothers.

The Minister said certain towns should receive lots of attention, particularly the mining areas which were noted for high rate of teenage pregnancy, and called for public-private partnership as the best way  to reach as many teens as possible.

The report indicated that none of the 10 regions in Ghana had an annual decreasing trend  since 2012.

It  stated further that districts that recorded the highest prevalence rates of teenage pregnancy were all urban centres, and that the Accra Metro district in the Greater Accra Region recorded the highest prevalence rate among the district in Ghana.

The report revealed that Senior High school students had the highest proportion of abortion rates with the attempt to avoid dropping out of school.

Prof. Awusaba Asare of the Department of Demography of the University of Cape Coast, in his presentation outlined some of the factors leading to teenage pregnancy in Ghana.

He observed that people living along the coastal areas particularly the Central Region and the Greater Accra Region had witnessed an increase in teenage pregnancy prevalence rates.

He also pointed out that there was an interface between law and marriage. He noted that the laws of Ghana allowed people from 18 years and above to vote after which they believed they could engage in a relationship.

He also stated some of the implications such as limited social skills as a result of being a drop out, implications on the health system, and cost to society in terms of managing them, amongst others.

He emphasized that in addressing the situation, the concept of human capital development should not be overlooked.

He emphasized the need to look at the concept of second chance for the girl-child. “What kind of support is available for pregnant teenagers after child birth for them to achieve their goals in life?”

He also appealed to stakeholders to consider the case of the boy child as equally important as that of the female counterpart.

The Director of the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Aboagye, discussed with stakeholders some of the strategies the  Ministry of Health in collaboration with Ministry of Gender had put together to help  reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy.

These include health advocacy, formation of youth clubs in schools, quarterly news letters to schools, and mobile applications online. Others are training programmes, discussion forums, talk shows, hotspot to embark on outreach programmes.

In attendance were stakeholders from civil society organizations, NGO’s, Security agencies, public service institutions and UNICEF.

Source: GNA

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