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Sex with older men linked to teenage pregnancy in Upper Manya Krobo – DCE

The District Health Directorate at the Upper Manya Krobo district has raised the alarm over the high prevalence of teenage pregnancy, attributing it primarily to adolescent girls engaging in transactional sex with older men to meet their financial needs.

Teenage pregnancy

Other significant factors include widespread poverty, insufficient parental support, and the influence of Western lifestyles.

District Chief Executive Joe Sam, addressing assembly members, voiced deep concerns over the situation.

“This current situation, indeed, is quite alarming and disturbing and therefore requires the effort of all of us to help address the issue,” he emphasized, calling for a unified effort to tackle the problem.

In response to the crisis, the District Health Service, in collaboration with the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP), has intensified outreach programs to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services for the youth. The district assembly has also allocated office space to support these initiatives.

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A report from the Ghana Health Service highlights the severity of the issue, ranking the Upper Manya Krobo district second nationwide in teenage pregnancy prevalence. Historical data further illustrate the trend:

  • - 2021: The district recorded a 19.3% prevalence rate, ranking first in Ghana and the Eastern Region.
  • - 2022: The prevalence rate was 18.2%, placing the district fifth in Ghana and second in the Eastern Region.
  • - 2023: The rate dropped to 16.6%, positioning the district 11th in Ghana and third in the Eastern Region.
  • - First Quarter of 2024: A 17.8% prevalence rate has the district ranked third in Ghana and second in the Eastern Region.

The Upper Manya Krobo District has also been selected among eleven districts and municipalities in the Eastern Region to benefit from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 8th Country Program. This program is focused on reducing child marriage, gender-based violence, and maternal deaths.

Faisal Bawa, Program Analyst for UNFPA’s Gender-Based Violence Unit, highlighted the critical issue of child marriage, which substantially contributes to adolescent pregnancies, with over 100,000 cases reported annually in Ghana.

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The repercussions for adolescent girls' development, health, and education are profound and far-reaching.

To address these challenges effectively, key stakeholders, including Social Welfare, the Department of Gender, and the Ghana Health Service, have been urged to collaborate with UNFPA.

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