It has emerged that single teenage mothers in the Upper East region of Ghana are resorting to a rather weird and heartbreaking way of making their hungry babies stop crying for food when they are hungry.
Dorcas Akonga is quoted as saying, “One of the girls gave her child akpeteshie she bought at 50 pesewas so that the child could sleep for longer hours to allow her enough time to search for food before the child would wake up. The baby did not wake up. The girl told me she buried the baby herself secretly. And now she has run to Kumasi. There are several areas in the region where there is no house without a single teenage mother.”
Dorcas Akonga further revealed that wealthy people in the communities who could extend helping hands to the poor teenage mothers rather demand sex in exchange, and end up infecting the single mothers with sexually transmitted diseases.
She said “Nobody can be as wild as a mother whose child is hungry. At that point, there is nothing like reasoning. And the man, knowing what he's carrying, would opt for unprotected sex. He wants to spread the disease. The girl is hungry. Her baby is hungry. All she wants is money. It's happening in offices. It's an agreement. They say, 'Use what you have to get what you want'. There are worse things happening.”
One of the single mothers, Regina Akugre narrated her ordeal to Starr FM saying, “My parents were jobless at the time. So, I hardly got any food to eat in the morning before I set off for school. I thought going for a man would help me. But in the end, I got pregnant. I was 17 years. I didn't even know I was pregnant until my mother noticed some changes in me and asked me the last time I menstruated. I said four months ago.
“Then, she told me I was pregnant. The man responsible for it called me and gave me some medicines. They were about four medicines. He said I should take them to abort the pregnancy. And I said I would not do it because I didn't know if it was safe for me to abort a pregnancy that was already four months old. He vanished after I gave birth.”
Dorcas Akonga who has dug out this disturbing development has therefore warned that the future for Ghana looks bleak if immediate steps are not taken by the state to rescue the innocent babies being born and subjected to inhumane treatments for lack of source of livelihood.
“If these children are not well catered for, in the end they would be the people pulling the gun on us. If we choose to ignore the reality today and the babies become armed robbers tomorrow, the authorities who ignored them would be the first to face their guns.
“The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are very loud about education, health and empowerment. What these girls are going through right in front of our eyes are a threat to the attainment of those SGDs twelve years from now. Let's see what we can do as quickly as we can to empower those girls to save their education, to bring back their lost dreams, to make their future bright again and to halt the havoc being done to the lives and the fragile brains of their hungry babies with akpeteshie,” Dorcas appeals.