Central Regional Youth Programmes Officer for the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, Michael Tagoe has advised stakeholders in the lives of adolescents not to shy away from discussing and advising them (adolescents) on issues of sexuality and sex.
To him, the work should not be one sided as he believes a 360 approach with all stakeholders taking up strategic positions in advising the young ones on the subject, can help reduce the incidence of adolescent pregnancy drastically.
“Kids spend limited time with their parents and more in the larger community. Those of school going age spend more time with their teachers who also do their best to educate the children on sexuality and sexual education but that is not enough. Parents must also be informed on the topic and continue with the work when the children get home.
But we have to also look at other areas where the children find themselves and spend more time. That way, issues on adolescent pregnancy, sexuality and sex can be comprehensively addressed because young people are adventurous and education from one angle only will not help the situation”, he stated.
He made this comment in an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show aired on e.TV Ghana and Happy98.9FM.
Michael charged the media to intensify its reinforcement efforts on issues of adolescent pregnancy to compliment that of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). “Formerly, there were a lot of reinforcement messages coming from teachers, parents and a myriad of sources aired by the media and we need them to go back to that. We need the media to reinforce and get these messages etched in their minds and help reduce adolescent pregnancy”.
Data from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), District Health information Management System showed Ghana recorded about 110,000 cases of teenage pregnancy in 2020 alone. Out of the number, 107,023 girls were between 15 and 19 years whilst 2,856 of the girls were between 10 and 14 years.
According to Michael, these alarming numbers are not a true reflection of the reality on the ground. He insists pregnancy amongst adolescents are far more than “we record”.
He added, lots of adolescents have been pregnant but never delivered “because most of them go in for unsafe abortion and that results in maternal mortality”.
He reiterated that until the Ghanaian populace comes together to work on to end the incidence of adolescent pregnancy, “we will always sing the same song every year for a short while and drop it”.