By Dennis Peprah, GNA
Duayaw-Nkwanta (Ahafo), Feb. 14, GNA – Unprotected sex is contributing to a surge in teenage pregnancy in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region.
Reports showed that more girls in the Municipality, some as low as nine years, could not complete their basic education because of unwanted pregnancies.
In 2019, the Municipality recorded 306 pregnancies mostly between 13 and 17 years, 326 in 2016, 404 in 2017 and 437 in 2018.
Mrs Freda Prempeh, the Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, raised the concern when she interacted with more than 1,000 students and pupils at a forum on Adolescent Sexual Health Rights held at Duayaw-Nkwanta in the Ahafo Region.
The Ministry with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised the forum to sensitise the participants on child right interventions, laws, conventions and protocols.
Mrs Prempeh who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tano North, indicated that adolescent girls were particularly vulnerable in harmful practices and sexual and gender-based violence of all forms.
She appealed to parents to collaborate with traditional authorities and teachers to monitor movements of girls in the area to help in the drastic reduction, if not total prevention of the teenage pregnancy menace.
Education on sexual reproductive health care services must also be intensified in public schools for girls to understand and control their sexual behaviours, Mrs Prempehs said.
Between 2000 and 2013, about 177,841 cases including rape, defilement, incest and compulsory marriages were reported to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police service, the MP stated.
In addition, she said about 32 per cent of women and girls between 15 and 24 years thought that wife beating could be justified due to socio-cultural norms and stereotypes.
Mrs Prempeh expressed regret that Ghana was among 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where Female Genital Mutilation was still prevalence despite efforts being made to put an end to the practice.
Among other visions, Mr. Faisal Bawa, Programme Assistant at the UNFPA said the UN agency worked to ensure zero maternal deaths in the country.
He underscored the need to empower girls to be able to stand for their sexual and other human rights to enable them to become responsible women.
By so doing, their lives would be devoid of any form of abuse, exploitation and harmful practices that impeded their growth and development, he added.
Mr. George Yaw Ankamah, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Children, indicated that cases of child labour had reduced because many children had been enrolled in schools.
He observed that the school feeding programme had been a contributor to increased enrolment in primary schools in the three Regions and called on the government to strengthen the programme.
Mr. Ankamah reminded parents it was an offence to use their children for exploitative work, saying culprits would be prosecuted.