Guard against teenage pregnancy…NYA to adolescents

The Upper East Regional Director of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Mr Francis Takyi-Koranteng, has admonished the youth to be mindful about the spate of teenage pregnancies in the region and to desist from negative acts that would make them to become victims.

He was speaking at a review meeting of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) advocates held in Bolgatanga, the regional capital of the Upper East on Tuesday.

Fifty young people from six districts in the region participated in the event organised by the Regional Directorate of the National Youth Authority (NYA) in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating Council.

It formed part of the implementation of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Government of Ghana five-year adolescents and reproductive health rights project.

The Regional Director entreated the youth to be advocates and ambassadors for Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR) in their respective schools and communities.

Mr Takyi-Koranteng observed that teenage pregnancies in recent years had been on the rise in the region, and attributed the causes largely to lack of accurate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights among adolescents.

He said sexual and reproductive health education was key to curbing teenage pregnancies and noted that the youth had critical roles to play in educating their peers, and making greater influence on their sexual life.

Mr Takyi-Koranteng noted that poverty had been identified as one of the major factors that caused the adolescents, who were mostly vulnerable to fall victim and urged the youth to venture into viable economic activities to fend for themselves.

He said when the youth were economically stable it would prevent them from indulging in risky behaviours that could lead to teenage pregnancies, and other sexually related problems.

Mrs Mary Azika, a Public Health Nurse at the Bolgatanga Municipal Health Directorate, said parents needed to pay attention to the changes in their children and always find time to speak to them about their sexual and reproductive health life.

She explained that apart from the need for parents to develop effective communication mechanisms with their adolescent children, parents needed to always endeavour to provide the basic needs of their children, especially the girls to prevent them from giving themselves to men in exchange for money.

The Public Health Nurse further called on authorities to take urgent steps to stop child prostitution in the region, adding that girls within the ages of 14 and 15 years were usually involved in the act.

The project sought to empower young people from Builsa South, Kassena-Nankana West, Bongo, Talensi, Nabdam and Bawku West districts to act as peer educators to contribute to sensitising their respective communities on sexual and reproductive health and rights to reduce teenage pregnancy, child marriage and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

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