Adolescents have inadequate information on sexual and reproductive health-survey

Asurvey conducted by Afrikids Ghana, a Child Right Advocacy Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has revealed that while some adolescents were finding it difficult to resist sex, others were also deliberately getting pregnant to marry lovers.

The survey formed part of Afrikids Ghana’s Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR) one-year project that targeted 500 adolescent girls.

The survey, which was conducted in Bolgatanga and Builsa North Municipalities, further revealed that 70.4 per cent of adolescents have little information when it came to sexual and reproductive health issues.

While some significant numbers of adolescents expressed confidence to be safe from child marriage, forced marriage and sexual abuse, 25.51 per cent of the group stated that they found it difficult to take a decision to say an outright no to sex, and 20.41 per cent were also undecided.

In furtherance, the finding stated that another 32.65 per cent found it difficult to talk to their boyfriends and partners about delaying sex or using contraceptives. It also emerged that 10 per cent of adolescents who were covered as respondents said they had been pressured to get married.

Speaking to the media at the dissemination workshop in Bolgatanga organised by Afrikids Ghana on Saturday, the Project Coordinator of Afrikids Ghana in-charge of the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, Ms Cecilia Awiah, disclosed that some girls were influenced by their peers, while others deliberately   got pregnant in order to marry their lovers

“Six out of the eight of the girls we called for the focused group discussions admitted that they were in relationships that were as long as two-years and that after a while, their partners asked them for sex as compensation for staying with them that long,” she stressed.

She also attributed the cause of teenage pregnancy to some girls’ view that it was better to compensate their boyfriends and lovers with sex, and eventually becoming pregnant.

“So, they feel that it’s really been long and so why not compensate these boys and then when they try it, they get pregnant,” she stressed.

The External Affairs Officer of Afrikids Ghana, Mr Raymond Ayine, explained that as part of the project implementation, Adolescent and Reproductive Health Clubs had been formed to use drama as a tool to educate parents and community members on the causes, effects and prevention of teenage pregnancies.

According to him, Adolescent and Reproductive Health Clubs also periodically educated the school population about menstrual management and hygiene.

This survey comes on the back of rising cases of teenage pregnancy and early marriage figures in the region in particular, and across the country in general.

In 2020, the Upper East Region recorded a total of 6,533 cases of teenage pregnancy with Bawku West, Bongo Talensi districts, Bolgatanga and Bawku Municipalities making the top five municipal and districts with the highest number of cases. The 2021 mid-year figures showed a similar trend with 1,639 cases in the region.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

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