WE carried on Monday, the report about 919 adolescents who got pregnant from January to June this year, in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

The breakdown of the numbers, as recorded by the Regional Health Directorate, are 235 girls between 10-14, and 684 aged 15-19 years.

According to Ms. Mary Gyimah, Sunyani Municipal Director of Education, the statistics were taken when the girls visited the antenatal clinic within the six-month period.

What it means is that the numbers could be more because not all the pregnant girls would visit the antenatal centres.

If the Brong-Ahafo alone could record such a high number of adolescent pregnancies within a six-month period, we shudder to think what the numbers would be across the country.

Indeed, it is shocking that we are recording such high numbers when we should be having all these adolescents in school.

Does that suggest that we have failed to provide them with the information that would make them avoid acts which lead to pregnancy at an early age?

It is extremely alarming that girls as young as 10 are experiencing motherhood at the time they should be mothered. It is worrying that many of these girls who are incapable of taking care of themselves now have to concern themselves with motherhood.

What is disturbing is that very little is being done by way of public education, and the reality is that many more girls across the country are having children at an alarming young age.

The question, therefore is, what can be done to prevent and lower the rate of adolescent pregnancy in the country?

For us, the surest way to prevent such pregnancies is for teenagers to be given information and for them to have a comprehensive understanding of abstinence and contraceptives.

Although there may be many other ways to prevent adolescents from becoming pregnant, the only one that is absolutely effective is sexual abstinence.

The method is the only one that guarantees no risk of getting pregnant, and protects young girls from sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).

Information on abstinence must be given to the adolescents through special lessons in schools to educate them on the responsibilities that comes with becoming sexually active at a younger age.

Furthermore, it is also necessary to equip them with information on the use of contraceptives so that those who due to peer pressure, may wish to experiment with sex, protect themselves.

More importantly, it is the job of teachers and parents to teach adolescents about the negative effects of young people having premarital sex and getting pregnant.

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