Deputy Director of Operations at the Marie Stopes Ghana Mrs. Patricia Antwi Boasiako and a convener of the Adolescent Reproductive Health(ARH) Summit has advocated the need for government to introduce Reproductive Health Education in schools in the country to sensitize the youth about their reproductive health.

She said the rate at which the youth are avail to sexual and pornographic contents in the media is very high and thus leading to their premature experimentation with sex that is leading to a high rate of teenage pregnancies and its associated hazards in the country.

Madam Boasiako said this in an interview with Berla Mundi on the New Day show on TV3, Tuesday, May 25.

She was speaking at the heels of the 3rd Adolescent Reproductive Health(ARH) summit coming underway, in conjunction with the National Population Council(NPC) from Monday 26th to Tuesday 27th May at the Alisa Hotel, Accra from 8am-3pm daily. The ARH summit is organized to impress the need for reproductive health education on government to introduce the subject in schools in order to address the alarming spate at which the youth, especially adolescent girls are falling prey to premature pregnancies and sexual vices in the country.

“When you look at the statistics, it’s very worrying and the fact that somebody mentioned Marie Stopes and let’s say SRH(Sexual Reproductive Health) but we do so many other things. But what is currently happening is that, really have a very young population as you rightly said, and once we have a very young population, the issues from the young population will be more. And when we talk about adolescence, we are looking at age 10 to 19, as it stands now, we have young boys and girls having sex at an early age. The Ghana Demographic Health Survey states that about 11% of women between the ages of 25 to 49 has had sex at the age of 15, It further increased to 44% at age 18.

“So what is the issue now, the reality is that our boys and girls are having sex, as a nation, what are we doing to ensure that they are educated so they are protected to have safe and protected sex? And I would say it’s more about the culture, I mean the African culture frowns on early sex before marriage but the reality is that we have aged as a country, there is so much modernisation. Social media is giving these young boys, I won’t leave the boys out because it is the boys who would get the girls pregnant, so young boys and girls have access to social media, is it the right information they are having? I know Civil Society Organizations are working on implementing ARH(Adolescent Reproductive Health) and pushing the ARH agenda and increasing domestic financing for ARH. So the reality is that education is key, we need to educate our women and girls, we need to have a healthy community, we need to make sure that we have well resourced persons”, she pointed out.

She went on to state that “if these young girls, we are talking about 107,000, I think the population of a stadium is about 40,000, so that’s like three stadia full. Can you imagine three of Accra Sports Stadium full to capacity, full of pregnant women who are going to lose their aspirations, their dreams, some of them will be on the streets, some of them will be vagabonds and some of them will be doing so many social vices that doesn’t work well for us. 

“So what we are saying during this time that we are having this Adolescent Reproductive Health Summit is that, we want to advocate for Reproductive Health Education in schools, it is key, it is important. Because our young ones have access to wrong information, if policy makers will ensure that our young ones have access to the right information on Reproductive Health Education, we will have a healthy nation that will contribute to the economic growth of Ghana”.

For her part, Mrs. Solace Esi Amankwah, Public Relations Officer for the National Population Council bemoaned the lack of the right information from parents to their adolescent children and even from the school system, that has left the young ones to seek their own information from peers and social media.

“It’s heartbreaking when you raise a child up to a certain age, a very promising young girl and one day you wake up to the realization that she is pregnant, it’s heartbreaking and it’s difficult for parents to take, especially the mothers. Because it’s going to be a burden, you’re not ready to be a grandmother, that girl herself is a baby so this is a baby giving birth to a baby. Now, if the girl child has seeked the right information, which is not available, it wouldn’t have led her to getting pregnant.

“Seeking the right information is one of the problems the young girls are facing because when they get to that puberty age and the developments begin to appear physically, they try to seek information about what is happening to them. If you are my mate, they go like: I have seen blood flowing through their private parts, they say it’s menses, what is it? If you don’t know you are going to misinform me, they say it means you are a big girl so you can have sex. She will say wow, I have the feeling for it, she will go for it without knowing the consequences. So without the right information and also our health centers should be friendly”, she emphasized.

By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|Skynetgh.com|Ghana