The Ahanta West Municipal Assembly has since 2018, and to date, consistently led as the assembly with the highest number of teenager pregnancy cases in the Western Region.
“Teenage pregnancy is prevalent here in Ahanta West. In fact, we have been leading with the highest number of cases of teenage pregnancy in the [Western] Region for the past three years. In 2018, we recorded 701 cases representing 17.2 percent. In 2019, we had 711 cases representing 16.7 percent and in 2020, we had 739 representing 16.1 percent. Even though the percentage count is reducing, we are sadly increasing in absolute count,” Ahanta West Municipal Health Director Timothy Kobina Ofori revealed.
He revealed further that the victims are between the ages of 13 to 19 years, adding that majority of them are at the Junior High School (JHS) level.
“In our investigations, we found out that most of the cases are as a result of peer pressure. What we are doing is that we have formed adolescent clubs and involved psychologists to counsel the girls. What we have done is also to involve the traditional leaders especially the queen mothers on advocacy drives. It was on one of the outreaches that the organization the Virtuous Boardroom heard of the plight of the girls and decided to support some of them. So some of them who had shown interest to continue schooling and also learn a vocation were selected for support.”
The Virtuous Boardroom, a grouping of female professionals drawn from diverse backgrounds, on the occasion of the birthday of its President, Nana Yaa Amoako-Adu, decided to offer support to selected victims of teenage pregnancy in the municipality.
Ten of the girls who showed interest in learning sewing had their fees paid for them. They will also be supported with all materials needed for them to be able to learn to sew without any let. Each of them also received a sewing machine.
One of the girls who showed interest in catering had her fees paid in full to enable her complete her chosen vocation at the Abura Vocational School.
Two of the girls who showed interest in hairdressing had their apprenticeship fees paid in full with additional materials to enable them learn the vocation without any hindrance.
Six of the girls expressed the desire to continue their education.
One who is going to the Senior High School SHS will be taken care of for the entire three-year period she will be in school.
The remaining five who are at the JHS level will also have their fees and other ancillary supports taken care of till they write their Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE).
There is also the opportunity for an additional support for them should they decide to continue to SHS.
Virtuous Boardroom also selected six mothers of the girls and supported each with GH¢500.
The financial support, to the mothers, is to enable them start a trade so they will be in a good stead to take care of the babies of their children while they are in school.
President of the Virtuous Boardroom Nana Yaa Amoako-Adu while presenting the packages said the gesture is to encourage and demonstrate to the girls that their lives should not end because they have made “a mistake”.
“They can get back up. Take this opportunity that has been offered them and work at building their dream and once they stay committed that dream will surely come to pass. They should not allow their mistake to affect them in anyway. Rather it should serve as a learning curve for them. And we will continue to help them once they stay committed.”
According to her, she was encouraged to lead the Virtuous Boardroom to show love to the girls because everyone needs a second chance at life and “because as our motto says we rise by lifting others”.
“I did what I did because God told me to do it. And it was not hard for me to hear and respond to God’s call because this is something I do and like to do a lot. I want to encourage all of us to give no matter how small it is. You may think it is small but in the eyes of the beneficiary, that which you consider small may mean the whole world to him or her. So let’s give and let nothing stop us from giving freely. That is God’s ultimate request from us.”
The beneficiaries thanked the Virtuous Boardroom and promised to learn from their mistakes by making good use of the “second chance given them”.
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3news.com|Ghana