The news that the Akatsi North District Assembly has declared war on teenage pregnancy in the district, makes interesting reading.
In its back page report of Friday, May 1, The Times quoted the District Chief Executive, James Gunu, as saying the Department of Social Welfare has embarked on community outreach programmes to sensitise people to the debilitating effects of the menace.
The action follows an earlier report by The Times on Thursday, April 30, that 61 first cycle school girls in the district got pregnant in the preceding two months.
The District Director of Health, Dr. Anthony Ashinyo, who disclosed this to The Times, claimed that the figures may just be a tip of the iceberg, because not all such cases are reported to the Government Health Centre at Ave Dakpa, the district capital.
In his response to The Times publication, the DCE claimed two of the culprits had since been arrested, and processed fast track for the District Magistrate Court.
The Times finds the DCE’s response intriguing, because it falls short of public expectation.
It is unacceptable that of the 61 cases officially reported, the DCE says action is being taken against only two culprits.
Is Mr. Gunu by this, saying the identities of the other fifty-nine are not known, and that the girls do not know those who defiled them?
Information available at the District Health Directorate indicates that the men are adults between age 20 and 47; this is ample evidence that the culprits are known and can be easily apprehended and dealt with, if the authorities so desire.
It is worrying that some irresponsible men would impregnate as many as 61 teenage girls in one area, in just two months, and would be allowed their freedom and the opportunity to possibly prey on many more.
We demand that the DCE and, indeed, such other stakeholders as the education authorities and security services, act swiftly to bring those men to book.
It is also instructive that the district for the entire last year, recorded 120 cases.
It is, therefore, our strongest conviction that something has gone terribly wrong for 61 cases to be recorded in just two months of this year.
We call on the authorities of the Akatsi District, and all others in the country, to initiate measures to protect female children from the hawks haunting for preys in society.