The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Western Regional Coordinating Council (WRCC) are partnering to review the past activities where UNFPA supported the region in some areas to fight teenage pregnancies.
The WRCC became an Implementing Partner of a joint programme in 2019 with UNFPA and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Department of Gender (DoG), National Youth Authority (NYA) and Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DoVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service as the sub implementing partners under the WRCC.
The Deputy Western Regional Minister, Mrs Gifty Kusi expressed his gratitude to the UNFPA for making the region a beneficiary of the programme of empowering adolescent girls.
She said through the programme two adolescent mothers have returned to school after they participated in the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) and livelihood skill training. She said youth leaders could now collect data on issues of teenage pregnancies and other sexual reproductive health related issues and summit to the planning officials for redress.
Mrs Kusi said data from the Western Regional Health Service plugged the teenage pregnancy relevance rate in the region at 12.8 as at 2019 which meant a drop from 13.1 in 2018 adding this has been achieved through the work of the teams put together to manage adolescent pregnancies.
She disclosed that districts like Wassa East, Wassa Amenfi East, Nzema East and Ahanta West where adolescent pregnancies were very high has significantly dropped in these districts after the effective implementation of targeted interventions by the GHS and other partners with support from the UNFPA.
The focal point of UNFPA in charge of the Western Region, Mr Mutaru Goro Iddrisu urged the districts to collaborate and work with the relevant agents to get the correct data to assist in the next planning. He said UNFPA’s mandate sought to ensure that every child was protected and to work to ensure true access to gender base violence and others.
He said his office would ensure that girls were not given out for marriage very early but to remain in school and be role models in their various societies. He said males must be involved to know how to respect the rights of the girls as some males had proven to be ignorant.
Mr Iddrisu said they would interact with parents to engage both boys and girls on their rights adding, “Child marriage was not acceptable in society and all must learn that children are to remain in school until the right age for marriage”.
The Western Region focal point, Mr Prince N A Awere said poor participation of community members in programmes was one of the challenges, the long distance from communities to event grounds causing late arrivals and start of programmes also affected the programme.
He disclosed that the main threats were lack of parental care leading to child forced marriages, high level of poverty leading to adolescent feuding for themselves and some traditional beliefs which had adverse effects on the programme.
There were traditional rulers, religious bodies, the civil society and other collaborators.
FROM PETER GBAMBILA, SEKONDI