CEO of NYA urges holistic campaign against teenage pregnancies

The Chief Executive of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Pius EnamHadzide has called for a holistic campaign towards reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancy in the country.

He explained that, addressing rate of teenage pregnancies would ensure that the future of Ghanaian and African young females were defined by their participation in all spheres of economic, social and political life. 

MrHadzide made the call at the celebration of this year’s Africa Youth Day in Cape Coast on Monday.

A campaign dubbed; “Safeguarding the teenage girl” which would be a rallying point to tackle the issue of teenage pregnancy was launched at the event.

 The Africa Youth Day, held on November 1, was to recognise and promote the central role of youth as agents of economic empowerment, social change and sustainable development in Africa.

The theme for the day was: “Defining the future today: Youth-led solutions for building the Africa we want,” while that of the local theme was “Safeguarding the teenage girl.” 

MrHadzide noted that, the scourge of teenage pregnancies had been a major impediment to African women, and in particular, Ghanaian women realising their full potential.  

He explained that, figures from the District Health Information Management System (DHIMS) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), suggests that 109, 888 teenage pregnancies were recorded in 2020 alone.

 “Of this number, 2, 865 pregnancies were girls aged between 10 to 14 years, below the age of statutory consent

This suggests that on the average, 112, 800 teenage girls get pregnant every year. Unfortunately, the Ashanti, Eastern and Central regions record the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the country,” he said.

This, he explained, had heightened the risks of premature labour, spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, the development of fistulas and higher rates of maternal mortality.

MrHadzide indicated that, beyond the health risks associated with teenage pregnancies, significant social and economic consequences often follow teenagers who successfully carry their pregnancies to term. 

“These consequences often meant teenage girls who have children and at times, their teenage partners, cannot fulfil their academic potential and are deprived of the skills to become financially independent in future,” he said. 

The Central Regional Minister, Mrs Justina Marigold Assanexpressed the important contribution of the youth to national development.

The youth as we know are the greatest human resource assets for any nation and therefore much attention should be allocated to their activities, so as to guide and lead them to become better future leaders.

She underscored the need for stakeholders in the country to come together and deliberate on how to address the issue of teenage pregnancy in the region.

MrsAssan further indicated that, per the statistics from the Ghana Health Service for 2020, Central Region placed third after recording 10,301 teenage pregnancies.

In his opening remarks, the Central Regional Director of the NYA, Emmanuel OfosuAnim expressed the resolve of the office to implement and “Safeguarding the teenage girl,” campaign.

OsaberimaKwesi Atta II, who was the chairman for the occasion, called for the prosecution of people who impregnate teenage girls in the country.

FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST

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