More than 11,000 girls got pregnant in the Central Region last year, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison has stated.
She said out of the figure six per cent of the men who impregnated the girls in the region in 2017 were married with 36 per cent being men cohabitating with other women.
The minister said these at a day’s dialogue on the status of women and girls for the people at Krodua near Bawjiasie in the Central Region on Thursday.
The programme which was under the auspices of the Department of Gender at the MGCSP was aimed at discussing issues affecting, especially women and girls in the community.
In attendance were traditional rulers, school children, opinion leaders and the religious leaders.
Mrs Morrison said the effects of pregnancy on young girls affected the socio-economic development of the country.
The minister said as part of efforts to reduce the menace the ministry had embarked on vigorous education programmes in the communities to educate the public on the effects of the practices, stressing the need to empower women and girls to reduce poverty in the country.
The minister said empowering women and promoting gender equity was crucial for accelerating sustainable development and ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls.
She called on parents to take advantage of the free Senior High School education implemented by the government to send their children, especially girls to school.
Mrs Morrison appealed to men to join the sensitisation drive to ensure balance for the country.
The Deputy Minister of MGCSP, Mrs Freda Akosua Prempeh, urged parents not to give out their children to traffickers for money.
She advised the students to abstain from pre-marital sex which resulted in teenage pregnancies and affected the health of victims.
The deputy minister also advised the youth to stay away from narcotic drugs such as Tramadol.
The Director of Gender at the Ministry, Dr Comfort Asare, said communities at Kasoa in the Central Region had been sensitised on gender issues and would be replicated in other regions.
She called on stakeholders to collaborate with the ministry to ensure that the rights of the less-privileged especially women and children were protected in the country.
The Omanhene of Krodua, Nii Dade IV, commended the ministry for the initiative, stating that it would go a long way to educate the youth, women and girls.
He assured the ministry of their collaboration to ensure that issues of women and children were made paramount in the community.
FROM ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI, KRODUA.