A child rights organization (Afrikids) in collaboration with the Ghana health service and other stakeholders in the Upper East Region has commenced a project to promote sex education in seven districts to reduce an alarming teenage pregnancy and unsafe abortion rates in the region.
The intervention with a duration of 36 months seeks to equip students in 250 Junior and Senior High Schools as well as parents with sex education materials and sensitization programmes to fight the canker.
Regional assessment of teenage pregnancy in Ghana shows that, the Upper East Region has the highest national prevalence rate of teenage pregnancy with serious unsafe abortion complications reported at health centers in the region.
Afrikids in collaboration with key stakeholders such as the Ghana education service, Assembly members, traditional rulers and religious bodies will prioritize sex education in schools and communities in the Nabdam, Talensi, Bawku west, Kasena-Nakana and Builsa North and South districts to curb the menace.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop on the theme “Promoting and sustaining adolescent health, Role of the community” Regional Deputy Director of Clinicals Dr. Abdul-Razak bemoaned the high rate of teenage pregnancy across districts of the region and the high incidence of unsafe abortion by many teenagers.
He attributed it to the ineffective operation of adolescent health corners which should be revised to curb the menace.
“We have to look at the critical issues concerning those adolescent health corners. Are they being used, if they are not being used, why are they not being used. The current data we have do not support any positive evidence, because the corners are there, yet teenage pregnancy and abortion is not reducing. So if the system is not friendly for teenagers to access these services then they will resort to other means which then endanger their lives,” Dr. Razak stated.
Upper East Regional Director of programmes for Afrikids Mr. David Pwalua said the project will set up friendly adolescent health centers and provide students in the beneficiary schools with sex education libraries stocked with audio-visuals and other materials and the essence of the use of contraceptives.
“we are setting up adolescent health centers and libraries in seven districts in the region where students will have access to a lot of information regarding their reproductive health. There will be audio visuals where children will watch video shows that seeks to educate them on their reproductive health and the essence of the use of contraceptives.
We will also talk to parents and community members who are shying away from talking about sex and sexuality to their wards, particularly the girl child, to appreciate the essence of sex education to their wards at the early stage to help their children abstain from sex at their teenage age or use contraceptives to reduce teenage pregnancy in the region,” Pwalua stated.
Dr. Razak also impressed on parents and the society at large to create a conducive environment to talk about sex education to teenagers and also overcome traditional settings that impede the sex education among the youth .
“We think that talking to young people about sex and sexuality is a no-go area, our cultural setting is also making it impossible for parents and community members to talk to teenagers about sex, we need to overcome that. But parents must be bold to talk to their children about sexual health and development is critical in reducing teenage pregnancy in the region and the country at large.”
The project is supported by DFID UK, Medicore foundation and peoples postcode lottery.
By: Fred Awuni/citifmonline.com/Ghana