Central Region records drop in teenage pregnancy

The Central Region, ranked as the second highest region with high prevalence of teenage pregnancy in the country, has started witnessing a decline in the number of cases, the Regional Department of Gender has revealed.

A Ghana Health Service Report indicated that more than 13,000 teenage girls got pregnant in the region in 2015.

At least 5,000 teenage girls in the region got pregnant between July and December 2016, the Member of Paliament for Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem, Samuel Atta Mills told Parliament in June this year.

It is estimated that one out of every three girls (31.2 per cent) in the region marries or is cohabiting before age 18; something that experts say is affecting the fight against teenage pregnancy.

But the Director of Gender Department in the region, Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, has said the cases have begun to decline due to various interventions by stakeholders.

“It is obvious that we have made some modest gains in this fight to reduce adolescent pregnancy from 14.5% in 2015 to 13.3% in 2016.  Also Domestic/ Sexual and Gender Based Violence reduced from 3,314 in 2015 to 2,666 in 2016,” she told 3News.

She said this at stakeholder meeting with traditional authorities and family heads at Komenda in the region.  The meeting was to discuss issues of teenage pregnancy, child marriage and sexual and gender-based violence and how to help stem their occurrence.The region has been recording incidence of child marriages mainly as a result of high adolescent pregnancy and cohabitation of young girls who due to the misfortune have to live with men before marriage.

Mrs. Eyra Kpe said though gains are being made in the fight, she underscored the need for stakeholders to intensify efforts at adopting holistic and pragmatic approaches to help address these problems.

She wants human rights approach to addressing teenage pregnancy, child marriage and sexual and gender-based violence to be considered to ensure that nobody’s right is violated in the process of addressing our social problems.

Mrs. Thywill Eyra Kpe

The director expressed displeasure about some decisions by some of the traditional authorities.

“Last year there was a call by some chiefs on the government to exempt adolescent pregnant girls from the free maternal care under the National Health Insurance Scheme, to force any University of Cape Coast students who impregnate indigenous girls to marry them, to the parade pregnant girls in the street of their town and whip pregnant girls among others,” she said.

These decisions, she said are in violation of the human rights of the victims, hence advised against approaches that could violate the rights of any citizen in the bid to build a better society

By Thomas Cann||Ghana

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