By: Ewoenam Kpodo | Voltaonlinegh |
An official from Ghana Health Service, Central Tongu District in the Volta Region, Dzifa Asempa has suggested surcharging people to help reduce teenage pregnancy and keep girls in school.
Madam Asempa lamented the staggering statistics of teenage pregnancy in the region and its attendant implications such as Vesico-vagina Fistula and death for the girls and burden and loss of human resource to society saying, steps must be taken to reduce the trend and reposition Volta Region as leader in producing well educated and prominent citizens.
She said child bearing must be for adults only and men/boys who would get girls pregnant must be made to pay unreasonable charges to deter others.
According to her, she learnt that a similar policy was implemented in a community in the Adaklu District where teenage pregnancy was on the rise and it yielded good results.
“Let’s follow the Adaklu example and force men who will impregnate teenagers to pay huge fines. I will appeal to the chiefs and headmen to take this up. This should not be the normal tradition of people bringing in few drinks and others to own pregnancies they are responsible for but more to serve as deterrent to such men and reduce the rate of girls becoming pregnant.”
She spoke about intervention programmes in the district which involved the assembly, the district offices of health and education, queens and chiefs organising workshops on the phenomenon among others in 2017 which helped matters but stalled due to financial constraints saying, it was important other ways were devised to help arrest the situation.
Apart from surcharging, Madam Asempa called on people to welcome family planning for sexually active teenagers to forestall the possibility of them becoming pregnant multiple times and preventing them from fully developing their potentials.
She gave the suggestion during a presentation on the status of teenage pregnancy/child marriage in the district and its consequences on the individual, the family and the society at a day’s forum on male engagement for gender equality and development held at Sun City Gardens, Bakpa, Central Tongu.
Wednesday’s forum themed “Well Trained Girls and Boys Make a Developed Society” organised by Department of Gender, Volta Region with funding support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), had participants discuss issues relating to the vulnerability of women in the male-dominated world and how to empower them.
The men, who admitted there was the need for change of mindset, agreed that the empowerment process must begin right from the home during the socialization process by giving both boys and girls equal opportunities to do away with gender stereotypes.
Volta Regional Director, Department of Gender, Lena Alai underscored the need for the forum and said men/boys had a major role to play in reducing teenage pregnancy.
Madam Alai said “teenage girls have taken child bearing from adults” citing the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Report of 2017/18 which revealed that Volta Region recorded the highest adolescent birth rate in the country with Central Tongu coming fourth in the region.
The forum chaired by chief of Mafi-Dadobe/Wute, Togbe Akliku Ahorney II and attended by chiefs, assembly members, religious groups, headmen, and boys groups also saw UNFPA Focal Person at the Volta Regional Coordinating Council, Victoria Odurowa Fato in attendance for monitoring purpose.