Consistent reproductive health education reduces teenage pregnancy

By Kodjo Adams

Accra, Feb. 16, GNA – Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, the Executive Director, National Population Council, says the country needs consistent reproduction health education to reduce teenage pregnancy.

Such an activity will support young girls to delay first sexual intercourse and reduce teenage pregnancy as teenage mothers are guided and supported to become effective, nurturing, and bonding parents.

Dr Appiah said this at a development dialogue on the topic ” Teenage Pregnancy and School Enrollment” in Accra.

The dialogue was organised by the Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research (ISSER) funded by the Agricultural Development Bank.

Research has revealed that from 2016–2019, school dropout in primary was 23,050, 12,972 in Junior High, and 4,292 in Senior High.

Investment in teenage pregnancy prevention, she stressed, would remove barriers to education and improve enrolment for sustainable development.

She called for a widespread public education campaign in support of contraceptive use, including responsible parenting, religious and traditional authorities, and media support.

That, she stated, was non-negotiable because adolescents needed information and access to protect themselves from teenage pregnancy.

“Education plays a critical role not just in improving our lives but also in helping accumulate economic and social capital in communities, which removes the stress of poverty.

“The stress of poverty is more than a lack of food.It is a death sentence that results in a significant reduction in life expectancy,” she said.

“We need to encourage our young girls to take spelling tests as they prepare to change the world, not to take pregnancy tests as they prepare to change diapers,” according to Dr Appiah.

Reverend Professor Adobea Yaa Owusu, the Immediate Past Director of the Social Division, ISSER, said research had revealed that the presence of both parents was associated with a delay in sexual activity and unwanted pregnancies.

She said active involvement in setting boundaries for teenagers and adolescents, especially in early sexual indulgence, had contributed to positive outcomes.

Prof Owusu called for support for Family-Life Education in schools by training specialists to offer premarital education to young children.

Dr Abraham Frimpong Baidoo, Programme Officer, Safe Motherhood, Family Health Division, Ghana Health Service, said teenage pregnancy among adolescents was fundamental to achieving positive health outcomes and Sustainable Development Goals.

From 2020–2022, the number of abortions among young girls between the ages of 10 and 19 was 24,108.

He said the Service had rolled out interventions to educate young girls on the consequences of adolescent pregnancy and called for a concerted effort to manage the situation.

Prof Peter Quartey, Director, ISSER, called for responsible parenting to address issues of teenage pregnancy, especially in the wake of economic challenges in the country.