Sexual reproductive health, though important and integral in raising and nurturing adolescents into adulthood, is a topic seldom discussed or raised in conversations, and in Ghanaian homes.
This phenomenon has its adverse effects and greatly shows in the numbers of teenage pregnancies recorded each year.
So, as part of its end of year projects, the Nuerkie Foundation in collaboration with Marie Stopes Ghana and other key partners today [December 26, 2021], organized a sexual reproductive sensitization program for Kayayei at the Newtown Old Filling Station, Mallam-Atta, Accra.
This year’s program, dubbed “Project Know Your Body” seek to create a community of informed teenage Kayayei girls, equipped to make the right and healthy sexual decisions for herself, her community and the entire nation.
Ghana through the Ministry of Education had made efforts to introduce and teach students some basic sexual reproductive health but a recent study conducted by the University of Cape Coast and the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute indicated that the programs initiated in Ghana are not providing the full range of information that adolescents need.
Sexual reproductive education is integral to ensuring that adolescents are equipped with the information they need to achieve healthy sexual and reproductive lives and to avoid negative health outcomes.
Rebecca Akuetteh Nuerkie, founder of the Nuerkie Foundation said the sensitization program was meant to help the “kayayei girl child/woman get to know and understand the changes in her body in order for her make informed sexual decisions since they are typically at risk of being sexually exploited.”
The program brought together more than 200 young and older Kayayei, most of whom exhibited little to no knowledge in sexual reproductive health.
Participants were taught basic menstrual hygiene, use of contraceptives, family planning methods among others.
Most of the Kayayei expressed shock that such methods existed to help them effectively plan their families.
Some also said some myths surrounding the use of contraceptives and opting for family planning methods are to blame for their reluctance to seek such services.
One participant said she had heard people complain of unstable menstrual cycle and lack of pleasure for sex after having used contraceptives or using one of the family planning methods.
Another said the penis of her husband tasted different and horrible after she went in for a family planning method.
But assuring the participants of the safety of contraceptives, Araba Essandoh, Client Affiliations Officer for Marie Stopes Ghana admonished the participants to dispel such myths as they oftentimes lead to unwanted pregnancies and dire consequences if the person doesn’t have access to support systems.
Sanitary pads and toiletries were also distributed to the Kayayei by Sunda Ghana
Lots of these Kayayei migrate from the northern part of the country to work as head porters in most urban areas of the country which the Nuerkie Foundation says it is working hard with other major stakeholders to ensure these frequent migrations are reduced and eventually stopped by providing alternatives in agriculture and tourism to help empower women.
By Kabah Atawoge