Queenmother’s way of halting teenage pregnancies

AS part of measures to check teenage pregnancy at Kissi, in the Komenda- Edina-Eguafo-Abrem municipality of the Central Region, parents of pregnant teenagers will, henceforth, be paraded through the town.

Nana Efua Badu II, the Queen of the town, who announced the sanction, also warned that the men responsible for the pregnancies would be part of the procession through the town to shame them to serve as a deterrent.

Nana Badu, who sounded the caution at a community forum on, “Adolescent and Sexual Reproductive Health, Teenage Pregnancy and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)”, held at the town’s market square, on Tuesday, said the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the area was a source of worry to her.

Organised by the Central Regional Directorate of the Department of Gender, with sponsorship from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ghana, the forum, intended for school pupils in the town, attracted many passersby and traders.

The people exhibited their excitement over the decision by cheering and applauding spontaneously when the Queen made the announcement.

Nana Badu, who presided over the forum, noted that the procession of the pregnant teens and their partners would compel irresponsible parents to change, whilse teenagers would be discouraged from indulging in premarital sex.

The rate of teenage pregnancies in the town, she said, was soaring by the day, though she could not readily give statistics, but expressed worry that girls as young as 11 and 12 were getting pregnant in the area.

The Central Regional Guidance and Counselling Co-ordinator of the Ghana Education Service, Mrs. Bridgette Baaba Nzima-Mensah, in an interview, said GES counselors in the region had formed an association, to among others, combat teenage pregnancy.

High on the agenda of the association, she said, was to advocate the outright dismissal of male teachers who impregnate pupils, instead of them being transferred to other districts to continue their diabolitical acts.

She said the office sometimes received reports of teachers impregnating their pupils; noting that the pupils and their parents often did not have the courage to report the cases for the necessary action to be taken.

She reminded teachers that impregnating a pupil was against the GES Code of Ethics, it was also a criminal act so her office would also ensure that any reported culprit would face prosecution in addition to the dismissal.

Ms. Agatha Baaba Forson, a nurse and a Senior Project Officer of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), who spoke extensively on teenage pregnancy, said a major cause of teenage pregnancy was the lack of parental care and control.

She, therefore, urged parents to make the welfare of their children their topmost priority and advised children to open up to their parents about issues related to sex, instead of talking to their peers, who were equally naïve.

Ms. Paulina Abayage, the Regional Director of the Department of Gender, speaking on Sex and Gender-based Violence, criticised the unnecessary ridicule and harsh treatment society subjected victims to, and urged for a change of the status quo.

She said it was not easy for the victims, especially of defilement and rape to open up and so it was the responsibility of members of the society to comfort and seek justice for them.

She advised young girls not to hesitate in reporting those who made sexual advances at them to their parents.

GNA

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