About 1,639 teenage pregnancy cases have been recorded across the 15 Municipal and Districts in the Upper East Region within the first quarter of 2021.
Midwife with the Bolgatanga Municipal Health Directorate, Mary Azika, said this at a review meeting held in Bolgatanga for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) advocates including 50 young people from six districts.
The Midwife who expressed worry about the surge in teenage pregnancies in the region noted that at the end of 2020, the region had recorded 6,533 cases and was placed seventh in the regional league table in the country.
She said Bawku West recorded the highest number of teenage pregnancies in both years recording 877 cases in 2020 and 207 cases in the first quarter of 2021 respectively.
The project sought to empower young people from Builsa South, Kassena-Nankana West, Bongo, Talensi, Nabdam and Bawku West Districts to act as peer educators to contribute to sensitizing their respective communities on sexual and reproductive health and rights for a reduction in teenage pregnancy, child marriage and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
Ms Azika attributed the cause largely to adolescents’ lack of accurate information on their sexual and reproductive health and rights and called for collective efforts from all stakeholders to address the challenge.
Regional Director of NYA, Francis Taky-Koranteng said health and reproductive health and rights of young people were critical to achieving a resilient and sustained economy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said all efforts needed to be made towards breaking barriers to sex education, to provide young persons with the right information about their sexual life to enable them to make informed choices.
“Thus, apart from clothing, food, medicine and shelter, young people’s reproductive health issues should be our concern.
“Even though young girls from our part of the world see formal education and skills training as the best way to giving themselves a bright future, prevailing circumstances like poverty, put pressure on parents to neglect or push their female children into early marriage, love for material things, overhyping of nudity and sex related materials on social media, peer influence among others continue to make sex a normal thing among young people,” he added.
Regional Coordinating Council Focal Person, UNFPA, Yvonne Wonchua, noted that the project was aimed at employing the youth to fight the menace of teenage pregnancies in the region through sexual and reproductive health education.
The review meeting engaged the youth to discuss the success and challenges with regards to the implementation of the project and how they could improve it to make a positive impact.
It was organized by the Regional Directorate of the National Youth Authority (NYA) in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating Council as part of the implementation of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Government of Ghana a five-year adolescents and reproductive health rights project.