Stakeholders are worried over increasing cases of teenage pregnancy in Okere District in Eastern region.
More disturbing is also a surge in HIV cases in the district.
The district recorded 14.7% teenage pregnancy cases in 2021 but increased to 17% in 2022
The situation has been linked to rising incidence of sexual and gender based violence cases against young girls in communities in the district however perpetrators are unpunished.
Yaa, an adolescent mother now 18 years was impregnated by her niece while in Junior High School form 2.
“He lured and forced to have have sex with me and got me pregnant. I didn’t know he was my family member. It was later that I got to know. I decided to continue my education in spite of the pregnancy”.
Yaa, was among the 2023 candidates who sat for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) which ended on August 11, 2023.
Similar abuse cases resonate across the communities in Okere District.
“Most of the cases that we recorded the community leaders themselves are culprit so I think there should be by-laws in communities to penalize those who do such things”. Alhassan Nuhu, Executive Director of Faith Dawah Foundation,a non for profit organization implementing Project dubbed ‘Let her Rise’ to curb the menace in the district said.
The project is funded by Plan international Ghana and Global Affairs Canada to create awareness and tackle the root cause of teenage pregnancy in the district.
At a community engagement and quiz competition on adolescent reproductive health organized at Lakpa, a farming community attended by traditional rulers, Ghana Education Service,Ghana Health Service parents and pupils to create awareness on the menace, the Executive Director of Faith Dawah Foundation Nuhu Alhassan called for enactment of by-laws to deal ban adolescent from attending wake-keeping.
He also called for easy access to condoms in the various communities for teenagers.
“We said there should be gong-gong beating to stop adolescent who attend wake-keeping for instance there is funeral you see young girls around the wake-keeping so communities should have by-laws to ban adolescence who attend wake-keeping.”
Okere district Public health Director ,Hectoria Ahenful says ,surge in teenage pregnancies and HIV in the district are major health concern to the health directorate due to its negative impact on health of the victims and development of the communities .
She called on all stakeholders to support the health directorate turn the corner.
Gender activist Gloria Kankam with Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF) called for resourcing of DOVVSU to effectively enforce the domestic Violence act to protect young girls suffering various forms of gender and sexual based violence.
“It come about because there is power relation someone is higher than someone so they abuse and sometimes it is also as a result of none maintenance. Parents ignoring the caring of their children and so the children find themselves in situations they should not dine themselves”.
She also urged the media to join in the adolescent health and safety education.
“Much education must be done on teenage pregnancy. Media is now focus on profit earnings than things beneficial to communities gone at the day you hear jingles send your girl child to school, teenage pregnancy but now no more”.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Kojo Ansah