The Executive Director for the National Population Council (NPC), Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah, has indicated that a holistic and comprehensive approach is required to tackle rising threat of teenage pregnancy as government has done with the galamsey menace.
According to Dr. Appiah, the country’s teenage pregnancy rate at 14% is high as opposed to that of developed countries which is less than 2%, maintaining that it affects development.
“Teenage pregnancy, child marriage if we tackle them then we will be dealing with poverty, we will be going in the right way for the sustainable development goals, which talks about poverty reduction, hunger, education, equity and we will be solving all that if we can focus on teenage pregnancy as we have done with the galamsey issue” she told B&FT in an interview.
Galamsey is for the natural resource which the humans get sustenance, but then the human resource should not also be compromised; “with child marriage(27%),teenage pregnancy(14%), I think we should treat it aggressively as we are doing with our galamsey”.
Government intends to spend US$100 million to reclaim lands destroyed by activities of illegal miners in the country through the Multi-sectorial Mining Integrated Project (MMIP).The five-year project is an initiative of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) aimed at combating ‘galamsey’ and also sanitizing the artisanal small-scale miners in the country.
All these efforts into galamsey is what the Director at NPC is also yearning for, in order to help halt the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy in the country which is gradually becoming a threat to socio-economic development.
“Teenage pregnancy whether you like it or not will increase the number of people we have, because the teenagers will give birth but then what training are the teenagers going to give the children, it leaves us to think about and we are talking about maternal mortality as a country.
Maternal mortality rates are highest within teenagers because they are still children so they develop all the complications [maternal mortalities are high, fistula, mobilities are high, and they have the low birth rate, so they consume a lot of healthcare].
She also explained that when a child is stunted, malnourished, it can turn out to perpetuate poverty; “so for me it is the surest way of perpetuating poverty by not tackling teenage pregnancy”.
Statistics from Marie Stopes reveal that fifty-seven thousand teenage pregnancies were recorded nationwide in the first half of 2017. A total of 31 teenage pregnancy related deaths were also recorded during the period.