The Ho Municipal Directorate of Health, has revealed a disturbing trend of girls under the age of 15 years, including 10-year-olds, getting pregnant and testing positive to HIV in the past three years.
According to Madam Victoria Kpelly, Deputy Director of Nursing Services in charge of the municipality, out of a total of 398 teenage girls who got pregnant and dropped out of school in the municipality between January and October this year, 20 of them were in the 10 -14- year age group.
The rest of them were between 15 and 19 years.
The Deputy Director of Nursing Services disclosed these to the Ghanaian Times in an exclusive interview in her office at Ho last week.
She said that last year, 479 teenagers got pregnant in the municipality, adding that out of the figure, 12 of them were between 10 and 14 years, and 467 in the 15-19 year group.
Madam Kpelly stated that the municipality recorded 546 teenage pregnancies in 2013, with 25 of them in the 10-14 years group, while 521 were between 15 and 19 years.
She disclosed that in 2012 there were 496 of such cases in which 29 of them were between 10 and 14 years, while 467 were in the 15-29- year category.
“The trend since 2012, is indeed very disturbing because a teenager is supposed to be in school, studying diligently for a bright future and not place her priority on sex,” Madam Kpelly stated.
She said what was more horrifying was that some of the pregnant girls tested positive to HIV.
Madam Kpelly could, however, not readily disclose the number of those carrying the virus.
According to her, most of the girls were from poor homes, and were taken advantage of, by the much older men.
She cited the example of a 17-year-old final year SHS whose parents could not raise the money for her WASSCE registration, and so she sought help from an elderly man who promised to assist her, only for him to impregnate her.
“The risk associated with some of the teenage pregnancies, especially those between 10 and 14 years, is that their pelvics are not mature enough to carry the babies, so they give birth through caesarian operation,” said the Municipal Deputy Director of Nursing Service.
For instance, she said six girls, aged 10-14, had their pregnancies terminated on the basis of their emotional and medical status, while 33 of those between the ages of 15 and 19 underwent similar procedure in 2015.
Madam Kpelly called for an effective social welfare system to make funds available for the upkeep of girls in such situations.
She said it was time schools, religious bodies and the society excouraged sex education in schools.
From Alberto Mario Noretti, Ho