Victims of teenage pregnancy must go back to school —North Dayi MP

The Member of Parliament for the North Dayi Constituency in the Volta Region, Ms Joycelyn Tetteh, has called for measures to integrate victims of teenage pregnancy back into school after delivery.

 

“Mr Speaker, every effort to get girls back to school after delivery is as important as the effort made at preventing the pregnancy in the first place,” Ms Tetteh told Parliament yesterday.

 

In a statement on the floor of the House to highlight the increasing spate of teenage pregnancies in her constituency, the first-time lawmaker said the pregnant teenager is not the problem but rather factors that lead to the pregnancy.

 

“That is why we must focus our energies on addressing those factors rather than isolating pregnant teenagers for condemnation,” she stated.

 

According to Ms Tetteh, teenage pregnancy is a major cause of maternal mortality in Ghana as the bodies of most teenage girls are not well developed and matured to accommodate a baby, apart from leading them to drop out of school thus leaving them unskilled and unfit for the labour market.

 

“This double jeopardy of being an unskilled teenager with a responsibility of taking care of the young is what demands that some immediate, relevant, national policy is crafted to halt the worrying trend of teenage pregnancy in North Dayi and beyond,” Ms Tetteh stressed.

 

As part of the measures to halt the trend, the lawmaker said sex education in basic schools needed to be prioritised and taught as she called on parents to be interested in the extracurricular activities of their children, especially teenage ones.

 

“We must begin as a country to teach safer sex practices amongst the youth instead of assuming that our children are ignorant of sex as an act and sexuality as a topic.

 

“Condom use must be mentioned whiles preaching the abstinence we desire as parents and teachers. The effort required to address this social problem of huge significance can only be effective if it is multi-faceted,” she noted.

 

Commenting on the statement, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubatak Muntaka said there was the need to “relook” at the Children’s Act which puts the age of sexual consent at 16 and age for marriage at 18.

 

This, in his view, was contradictory because sex relationships which lead to child births must be limited to persons who are by law matured to marry and engage in sex.

 

Alhaji Muntaka described as selective the decision by schools to expel teenage pregnant girls whiles their male counterparts are allowed to continue and called for a return to values of communalism so that the upbringing of children are not limited to only biological parents.

 

The Majority Chief Whip, Akwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh, called on parents to spend time with their children as part of responsible parenting.

 

“No matter how short the time may be, the quality makes the difference,” he stated adding that fighting teenage pregnancy is a collective responsibility which must involve teachers as well.

 

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, referred the statement to the Gender Committee charging it to bring its report to the House a month after recess and warned persons who choose to settle rape cases amicably to desist from doing so.

 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

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