Today, 5 teenage girls are impregnated every 4 hours in Ghana. This is alarming and will not end soon if nothing concrate is done becuase greater number of adolescnets in Ghana today are sexually active than we know.
This also means that an average of 30 girls become pregnant every day in Ghana. Is this not frightening and a disturbing trend and statistics? The Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Health must be the most worried government institutions today over this issue.
Teenage pregnancy occurs when a girl between the ages of 13 and 19 is put in the family way by either male teenager or an adult. Today, even children below the age of 13 are getting impregnated and parents need to sit up. Girls need protection and education to empower them. ‘He touched my private part, breasts’: The nightmare of rape on 17-year-old JHS student. This is the ordeal a 17 year old girl had to go through and survive if she had not been empowered.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison made a shocking revelation that, over 11,000 teenagers were impregnated in only the Central Region in 2018 and this is the basis for the analysis in this write up aimed at making us all aware of how alarming the statistics is. This is alarming because this figure suggests that every month in the Central region alone, 917 girls of school going age became pregnant.
Research Findings on Teenage Pregnancy
According to the minister, 6% of males who were guilty of the offence were married men whiles 36% were caused by those who were living with the girls but had not married the teenagers. The reality in this is that, 6 out of 100 married men on the streets of Ghana today are dating teenagers whiles 36 of the remaining 94 men are living under the same roof with teenage girls.
Countless research findings have shown that, teenagers are at a higher risk while carrying pregnancy up to the point of delivery compared to older women. Teenage pregnancy and its associated negative effects have long term effect on these vulnerable girls. Girls who do not want to have their babies temper with the pregnancy through abortion which is another dangerous path to take.
Yussif, Ganyaglo, Kantelhardt, and Kielstein, 2017 in their research about teenage pregnancy in the Northern region of Ghana found out that, girls less than 19 years were at higher risk of having stillbirth. The research also revealed that, adolescents who get pregnant were at a higher risk of experiencing more abortions and cesarean sections as well in their life time.
What Happened to Ghana’s Five Year Strategic Plan to Address Adolescent Pregnancy in Ghana 2018 – 2022?
Ghana per our investigations has a Five Year Strategic Plan to Address Adolescent Pregnancy in Ghana 2018 – 2022. The 57 paged strategic plan was signed by Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba former minister of Ministry Of Gender, Children And Social Protection. It looks as though, Ghana is not implementing the stragies in the plan to help eradicate the problem but rather, the document is only gathering dust.
According to this plan, teenage girls between the ages of 15-19 years contribute 9.7 babies to the Ghanaian population in 2008. About 11 years later, Ghana as a country has done nothing to reduce the rate, why then do we complain as a country? Are the two ministries implementing the strategies outlined in the strategic document so we don’t come back as a nation to complain of increases in teenage pregnancy? And what are the results currently?
In that same strategic plan, Ghana came out with powerful mission and visitation statements. Vision Statement of the Strategic Plan “All adolescents realize their full potential in the development process in Ghana.” (Ministry Of Gender, Children And Social Protection, 2018)
Mission Statement: “To provide adolescents, especially girls, with the right information, knowledge, skills and services to insulate them from unplanned pregnancies.”
The question we ask is, what happened to these laudable ideas? What has government done so far and why is the minister alarmed? Does it mean we have done nothing as a nation when we have produced a blue print for dealing with teenage pregnancy so we don’t have to complain that the central region alone has had 11,000 teenage pregnancies recorded?
If the minister Hon. Morrison is calling for a vigorous education program, then probably, she is not even preview to this all important strategic plan that could turn the fortunes of teenage girls around. Oh!! Ghana, what are we doing to ourselves. Let us stop blaming the teenagers who are been impregnated by men who themselves are not ashamed of themselves, government and its agencies must begin to partner NGOs in this field and roll out the Five Year Strategic Plan To Address Adolescent Pregnancy In Ghana 2018 – 2022
Collaboration with NGO: The Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) is the way forward
Government can come out with all the best strategies but it needs NGOs and other civil society organizations to help achieve the strategic goals regarding the fight against teenage pregnancy.
The Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), an NGO currently running a nationwide sensitization on Kidnapping, Teenage Pregnancy and Tramadol Abuse – KTT Project believes civil society organizations like the HRRG must continue with its efforts at aimed at educating girls on teenage pregnancy across the country. This requires well thought of series of activities that will help girls understand the immense benefits of staying chaste and away from sex and it related activities that have damming consequences.
Very often when a teenager becomes pregnant, parents and guardians and society in general are quick to say the girl is a bad girl. The truth of the matter is that, many older sisters, Aunties and mothers are to be blamed for not playing their roles well. Just as our boys are copying from adult males, girls are copying from adult females within the community.
This is the time for the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Health to partner and collaborate with NGOs to help reach as many young girls with the sensitization, education and empower our young girls if we are to achieve the 17 SDGs. The time to act is now
Source: Wisdom Hammond | Human Rights Reporters Ghana
Ministry Of Gender, Children And Social Protection. (2018). Five Year Strategic Plan to Address Adolescent Pregnancy in Ghana 2018 – 2022. UNFPA.
Yussif, A.-S., Ganyaglo, G. Y.-K., Kantelhardt, J. E., & Kielstein, H. (2017). The long-term effects of adolescent pregnancies in a community in Northern Ghana on subsequent pregnancies and births of the young mothers. Reproductive Health Journal .