It is worrying to find a teenage girl pregnant and neglected by not only the man responsible but also, her family and society at large. Married men, uncles and young men need counselling and much more, to respect themselves and keep their sexual edge under control, respect women and teenage girls as well. Girls and women must do same as reciprocal gesture and take their education serious.
Teenage pregancy can derail young people especially girls from reaching their full potential in all respect to become socially significant and respected. Critical moments of a confused state of being, emotional stress and hopeless of a teenage girl is a moment when she needs all the support, encouragement, counseling and motivation.
In many societies across the world including Ghanaian societies, many girls of school going age according to statistics are becoming pregnant before their 19th birthday. Curently, 5 teenage girls impregnated every 4 hours in Ghana.
Several factors can be attributed to this with one major reason being that, teens of today are very sexually active hence are at a greater risk of engaging in sex, unprotected sex and all manner of sexual activities that increases the risk of young girls becoming pregnant.
The rate at which girls are been impregnated thus 5 girls in every four hours is heart breaking and requires urgent attention. According to Plan International, adolescent pregnancies have become a global issue that flourishes in communities where poverty in high.
Some girls below 20 who get pregnant are actually forced into early marriage whiles others become pregnant due to curiosity and disregard to parental advice or the lack of it. Some of these girls become pregnant and are neglected, even if they deliver, they become mothers of unwanted babies as the men refuse to take responsibility or deny being the one responsible for putting her in the family way.
Denying girls the right to make decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health increases the chances of teenage pregnancy. For instance, research has shown that, unmarried women including vulnerable adolescent girls are excluded from the use of and accessing contraceptives in many countries. In places where this is not the case, adolescents must seek parental consent to uptake contraceptive services.
The big question is, if our young girls and boys are sexually active, and the boys can have access to contraceptives such as condoms, what prevents girls who want to avoid being pregnant but cannot stay of sex also use available contraceptives that are safe for their age? If we are to achieve SDG5 which seeks to achieve gender equality, then there is the need for Ghana raise more awareness on sexual and reproductive rights.
Causes of Teenage pregnancy
Many factors interweave as contributing factors to teenage pregnancy. Some of these are
- Lack of education and dropping out of school
- Forced early marriage in many communities in Ghana dues to poverty. Research has proven that, over 90% of teenage pregnancy is attributable to early marriage
- Sexual violence against teenagers
- Lack of information on sexual reproductive health for young girls
- Irresponsible parenting and the least goes on
- No access to contraceptives
As a nation, we must begin to think and create novel ways of dealing with teenage pregnancy and reproductive health related issues affecting our teens. In today’s technological world, an app can be created to make vital reproductive health information, counseling and support to teens available on the go.
Furthermore, The Five Year Strategic Plan to Address Adolescent Pregnancy in Ghana 2018 – 2022 should be implemented by government.
Also, government should collaborate and partner NGOs and Civil Society organizations working in sectors related to human rights, adolescent reproductive health and other issues that confront girls and women to help empower and enlighten them and give them better opportunities and a new way of looking at life.
Teenage pregnancy can lead to health complications, maternal and child mortality. This can further lead to negative social and economic effects on girl. Their families are not left out but had to endure disgrace and mockery within the community.
Many brilliant girls with bright futures ahead of them have had their education or vocational traning interrupted by pregnancy, some have suffered ore mature birth or still birth. However, this must not continue.
Teenage Pregnancy and Mothers of unwanted babies can be a thing of the past, if our social insitutions, goveernment and govermental institutions, families and parents perform their duties well.
Source: Wisdom Hammond| Newsghana24.com|Human Rightd Reporters Ghana