The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Dayi, Joycelyn Tetteh, has launched a campaign against early child pregnancy.
According to the young female lawmaker, early pregnancy is a problem which, if not fought, would undo the successes the country has registered in promoting women development and economic emancipation.
In North Dayi constituency, it is common to see a child carrying a baby on their back, most of them get drop out of school, while other get married before their 18th birthday.
According to the 2014/15 Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection demographic and health survey report, one of four girls in Ghana aged between 15 and 19 is already a mother or pregnant with her first child. The same survey shows that teenage pregnancy causes girls drop out of education or early motherhood of thousands of girls and newborns annually.
A recent reports in the media and some advocacy organisations in the country further showed Central Region, is becoming notorious in teenage pregnancy as Ghana’s teenage pregnancy rate stands at 23 per cent.
In a statement on the floor of Parliament, Thursday March 15, Ms.Tetteh said it was high time the country take bold step to prioritizes sex education in the various basic education institutions, for in her view that would help reduce if not end the canker among our teenagers.
“In Ghana, teenage pregnancy is a major cause of maternal mortality, as the bodies of most teenage girls are not well developed and matured to accommodate a baby. Teenage pregnancy also results in most affected girls dropping out school, becoming unskilled and unfit for the labour market, even as they prepare to become mothers,” Ms Tetteh said.
She continued, “This double jeopardy of being an unskilled teenager with a responsibility of taking care of the young is what demands that some immediate, relevant, national policy is crafted to halt the worrying tread of teenage of pregnancy.”
While urging colleague lawmakers to join her to debate the issue of teenage pregnancy and task concerned government ministries to implement the laws aimed at steming the vice, the NDC MP also charged parents to show interest in the extracurricular activities of their children.
She said, though teenage pregnancy is an over aged menace in human society, should the country take a bold step to begin to teach safer sex practices among the youth in schools much would achieved.
“The effort required to address this social problem of huge significance can only be effective if it is multi-faceted. The approach to solving this problem must acknowledge the role of parents, teachers, community leaders, chiefs and Queen mothers, religious leaders as well as politicians, and every Member of Parliament. Ghana has over 60% of its population below 35 years.”
“This feature of the population should be ordinarily as asset for Ghana but unfortunately, the huge unemployment situation amongst the youth has made the statistics a curse rather than a blessing. If our young teenage girls find themselves getting pregnant in addition to their unemployed state, the social problem created culminates into crisis with the potential to threaten social cohesion and stability of the state. This is how serious the teenage pregnancy phenomenon is getting”, Ms Tetteh added.
She also expressed the need for the country to considered more innovative ways to prevent the youth, particularly, teenage girls from getting pregnant, stressing that it was important for government to find ways of integrating pregnant girls into schools after they delivered.
“Every effort to get girls back to school after delivery is as important as the effort made at preventing the pregnancy in the first place. The pregnant teenager is not the problem; the problem is the factors that lead to the pregnancy. That is why we must focus our energies on addressing those factors rather than isolating pregnant teenagers for condemnation”, the North Dayi MP emphasised.
She said Ghana has over 60 per cent of its population below 35 years, which should have been ordinarily an asset for the nation, but unfortunately, the high rate of unemployment amongst the youth has made the statistics a curse rather than a blessing.
“If our teenage girls find themselves getting pregnant in addition to their unemployed state, the social problem created culminates into a crisis with the potential to threaten social cohesion and stability of the state. This is how serious the teenage pregnancy phenomenon is getting,” she stated.
Sources: www.therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba