By: Albert Kuzor | Voltaonlinegh.com |
In a bid to curb the rising cases of teenage pregnancy in the Akatsi North district, the Volta Regional Department of Gender has commenced an intensive sensitization programme for men and boys in the area on disturbing situation.
The initiative, being supported by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), is aimed at conscientizing the male gender on the reproductive health issues of young girls and women in order to get them actively involved in tackling the high rate of early child birth in the area.
Madam Lena Alai, the Regional director of the Department of Gender, Speaking to Voltaonlinegh.com on the sideline of a day’s sensitization forum at the district capital, Ave-Dakpa on Thursday, noted that the engagement with the men and boys was crucial to reversing the trend, which has placed the Akatsi North district at the top spot of the teenage pregnancy rankings in the region.
She said “We have targeted the women for far too long now. But we’re living in a society of men and women where these issues are taking place. A girl can get pregnant only once in a whole year but a boy or a man for that matter can impregnate maybe about sixty girls in a year and so this is the time we have to bring the conversation close to our men.”
According to her, there were far reaching implications of early child birth on the life of teenage girls, hence the need for a concerted effort to empower the young girls attain their aspirations in life instead of making them early mothers.
- -The Akatsi North District in 2014 recorded 100 teenage pregnancies and became number one among the 25 districts in the Volta/Oti regions.
- – The cases however declined in two subsequent years until 2017 and 2018, when it rose to 112 and 114 respectively.
- -As of October 2019, the district has already recorded 90 teenage pregnancy cases, making it the number one in the region and second nationwide.
Mrs. Millicent Kokui Helu, Akatsi North District Health Director who presented the staggering statistics at the forum, mentioned poverty, lack of parental guidance and ignorance as major contributory factors to the menace.
She however iterated her outfit’s resolve to work closely with other partners to reverse the trend as soon as possible through intensive stakeholders’ sensitization, increased sex education and the provision of family planning services for adolescent boys and girls, among others.
Over three hundred participants drawn from the various communities in the District including traditional and religious leaders attended the forum; where they were taken through causes and effects of teenage pregnancy on the society and ways to fight against it.