The ever increasing rate of teenage pregnancy has provoked the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Dayi, Joycelyn Tetteh, to advocate for a national policy aimed at putting an end to the menace.
She believes that it is only a national policy on teenage pregnancy which addresses the factors that lead to the pregnancy and prioritizes sex education will help curb the phenomenon.
“In Ghana, teenage pregnancy is a major cause of maternal mortality, as the bodies of most teenage girls are not well developed and matured to accommodate a baby. Teenage pregnancy also results in most affected girls dropping out school, becoming unskilled and unfit for the labour market, even as they prepare to become mothers. This double jeopardy of being an unskilled teenager with a responsibility of taking care of the young is what demands that some immediate, relevant, national policy is crafted to halt the worrying tread of teenage of pregnancy”, she noted.
Prioritise sex education
Delivering a statement on the floor of Parliament, Thursday, with regards to teenage pregnancies in North Dayi District, Ms. Tetteh said it was about time the country prioritizes sex education in its various basic schools, believing that will be the beginning of putting an end to the menace.
She told parents to show keen interest in the extracurricular activities of their children, especially, the teenage ones while also urging the country to begin to “teach safer sex practices among the youth instead of assuming that our children are ignorant of sex as an act and sexuality as a topic”.
“The effort required to address this social problem of huge significance can only be effective if it is multi-faceted. The approach to solving this problem must acknowledge the role of parents, teachers, community leaders, chiefs and Queen mothers, religious leaders as well as politicians, and every Member of Parliament. Ghana has over 60% of its population below 35 years. This feature of the population should be ordinarily as asset for Ghana but unfortunately, the huge unemployment situation amongst the youth has made the statistics a curse rather than a blessing. If our young teenage girls find themselves getting pregnant in addition to their unemployed state, the social problem created culminates into crisis with the potential to threaten social cohesion and stability of the state. This is how serious the teenage pregnancy phenomenon is getting”, she stressed.
Integrating pregnant girls into schools
The North Dayi lawmaker commenting further said while the country is considering innovating ways to preventing the youth, particularly, teenage girls from getting pregnant, it is also important to find ways of integrating pregnant girls into the various schools when they deliver the babies they carry.
“Every effort to get girls back to school after delivery is as important as the effort made at preventing the pregnancy in the first place. The pregnant teenager is not the problem; the problem is the factors that lead to the pregnancy. That is why we must focus our energies on addressing those factors rather than isolating pregnant teenagers for condemnation”, she averred.