Cape Coast,– Mr Yves Niinoi Hanson-Nortey, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tema Central Constituency has attributed the upsurge in teenage Pregnancies to lack of parental care and guidance in the country.
He said it was worrying that some parents shirked their responsibilities of caring for the basic needs of their children, which forced them to seek those needs elsewhere.
Mr Hanson-Nortey made this known at a day’s Conference for legislators and delegates in Cape Coast.
The Conference was aimed at building the capacity of Members of Parliament of the Population, Development and Reproductive Health group as well as Youth Parliamentarians on adolescent issues in the country.
They also went on field trips to interact with adolescents in the Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Assin South, Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Districts and the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Municipality.
Mr Nortey explained that some parents, instead of advising and training their wards on abstinence, would rather beg them for money and push them to go after luxurious things resulting in the canker.
He suggested that there should be punitive measures against parents who refused to protect their children, resulting in teen pregnancies.
The MP indicated that in as much as children needed to be allowed to exercise their rights and freedom, parents ought to shape their children to realize that, “rights go with responsibility” and that there was “time for everything”.
Mrs Freda Prempeh, the Minister of State in charge of Works and Housing, noted that social norms made it difficult for sexually active youth, especially girls to opt for Family Planning, which had hampered the fight against teen and unwanted pregnancies.
“These days Ghana Health Services (GHS) has made a lot of in-roads in providing adolescent friendly Family Planning centres, but there is a social tag to those centres.
“The fact that society frowns on a girl getting involved in sexual activities before marriage then predefines that a girl cannot even take a FP concept before marriage,” Mrs Prempeh lamented.
She said lack of sex education also pre-exposed the girls to teen pregnancy.
Mrs Prempeh described the issue as ‘disheartening’ and called on the MPs to collectively develop a strategic policy to reduce the menace in the country.
Mrs Gifty Francisca Ben–Aryee, the Programmes Head, Adolescent Health and Development, GHS delivering on Ghana’s situation on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ARSH), said about 14.3 percent of adolescents have begun childbearing in the country.
She said in 2020 2,865 adolescent pregnancies recorded were between the ages of 10 to 14 with 107,023 between 15 to 19.
Mrs Beb-Aryee called on the Parliamentarians and the government to invest in Adolescent Reproductive Health education to support the cause.
She identified financial hardships as a contributing factor to the rising cases of teen pregnancy and advocated the need for social and financial interventions for poor families and young girls to help them become self-reliant.
Mrs Ben-Aryee also stressed the need to safeguard the reproductive health of children, wherever they found themselves including the educational institutions to guard against being sexually exploited by unscrupulous adults including teachers.
Mr Alex Gabby Hattordze, MP for Central Tongu in the Volta Region stated that a situation where five siblings could be sleeping with their parents in a single room had also been a factor of teen pregnancies in the country.
He suggested that the government should develop a comprehensive housing plan to favour low income earners to own decent houses.
Mr Hattordze called on the MPs to include ASRH education into the national budget to assist advocates and educators in curbing the menace.
Source: Ghana News Agency