Friday, 25 June

UE/R: SRHR Network worried over 6,500 adolescent pregnancies recorded in 2020

General News
Teenage pregnancy

The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Network – Upper East Region has called on the government, the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, National Youth Authority and traditional leaders to take urgent steps to make sure that adolescent girls receive the information and support they need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy which most often lead to forced marriages.

This according to SRHS Network is critical when safety nets for girls like schools and families have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SRHS Network in a statement expressed worry that the District Health Information Management System (DHIMS) of Ghana Health Service (GHS) had reported that 6,533 adolescent girls aged 10 to 19 in the Upper East region became pregnant or mothers in 2020, an increase of five percent over the figure of 6,233 girls in 2019.

“It is even more worrying that the reported teenage pregnancy cases among girls aged 10 to 14 in the region has increased from 103 in 2019 to 142 in 2020, representing 38 percentage increase,” the Network said in its statement.

The SRHR Network – Upper East Region, is of the view that gender inequality, difficulties in accessing adolescent reproductive health information and youth-friendly health services, poverty and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have fueled high rates of unintended teenage pregnancies and child marriages in the region.

The SRHR Network – Upper East Region is, therefore, calling on all stakeholders to as a matter of urgency initiate open and frank discussions on adopting and implementing a culturally sensitive and age-appropriate Reproductive Health Education (RHE) in schools and communities in the Upper East Region and Ghana as a whole to deal with the rising spate of teenage pregnancies in the region and Ghana as a whole.

Below is the full statement from the SRHR Network:

SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS (SRHR) NETWORK- UPPER EAST REGION

MEDIA RELEASE

Concern over increasing cases of teenage pregnancy in Upper East Region, Bolgatanga.

17 May 2021

The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Network – Upper East Region is urging government (Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service and National Youth Authority) and traditional leaders to take urgent steps to make sure that adolescent girls receive the information and support they need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy which most of the times lead to forced marriages.

This is particularly critical when safety nets for girls like schools and families have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The District Health Information Management System (DHIMS) of Ghana Health Service (GHS) reported that 6,533 adolescent girls aged 10 to 19 in the Upper East Region became pregnant or mothers in 2020, an increase of 5 percent over the figure of 6,233 girls in 2019.

It is even worrying that the reported teenage pregnancy cases among girls aged 10 to 14 in the region has increased from 103 in 2019 to 142 in 2020, representing 38 percentage increase.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) has corroborated the GHS figures on the increasing incidence of teenage pregnancies and mothers in the Region among in school girls due to the COVID-19 school lockdown and restrictions.

The GES data released in September 2020 reported that 220 teenage pregnancies occurred among girls in Junior High Schools, out of which 30 were nursing mothers. While 105 Junior High School girls were married during the period, 48 Senior High School girls became pregnant or nursing mothers.

The SRHR Network – Upper East Region is of the view that gender inequality, difficulties in accessing Adolescent Reproductive Health information and Youth Friendly Health services, poverty and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have fueled high rates of unintended teenage pregnancies and child marriages in the Region.

Majority of the reported teenage pregnancy incidences are occurring in the poorer and rural districts of the region, particularly in the Bawku-West, Bongo and Talensi Districts, which recorded the highest in 2020.

There are similar trends in other regions of Northern Ghana. Available evidence worldwide suggests that risks of maternal deaths are higher for young adolescents, with girls’ aged 15 years or younger facing higher risks than older adolescents. In addition, the potential health, social and economic disadvantages that young mothers face are widely recognized.

Hence, the need for all hands on deck to tackle the underlying causes of high teenage pregnancies and motherhood, including stigma, poverty, social norms around expected behaviours and peer pressure to engage in sexual relations at an early age resulting in unintended pregnancies.

It is this worrying trend that the SRHR Network – Upper East Region calls on all stakeholders to as a matter of urgency to initiate open and frank discussions on adopting and implementing a culturally sensitive and age-appropriate Reproductive Health Education (RHE) in schools and communities in the Upper East Region and Ghana as a whole.

-END

Source: classfmonline.com/Emmanuel Mensah