A total of 518 teenage pregnancy cases were recorded in the Wa West District Health Directorate, in the Upper West Region, in 2019. The figure is a marginal decrease from the 528 cases recorded in 2018 and the 537 in 2017. It is, however, higher than the 493 cases recorded in 2016 in the same district.
A midwife at the Wa West District Health Directorate, Asmau Issah, revealed this at a youth forum held at Wechiau over the weekend.
She disclosed that 456 cases of teenage pregnancy were also recorded in 2015 and 428 cases in 2014, suggesting that while the number may have decreased in 2019, it is still significantly higher than the trend that used to pertain in the past few years.
Ms Issah described the situation as worrying, saying pregnancies among girls less than 18 years have adverse consequences on the health and wellbeing of the victims.
“Teenage pregnancy violates the rights of girls, with life-threatening consequences in terms of sexual and reproductive health, and poses high development cost for communities, particularly in perpetuating the cycle of poverty,” Ms Issah explained.
She said teenage pregnancy, among others, also deprives the girl of her right to education, and called for intensive sexual education for the teenagers to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Ms Issah said the district health directorate has established adolescent corners at Wechiau and Poyentanga to provide family planning services to adolescents, and called on teenagers to visit such centres.
The forum was organised by the National Youth Authority (NYA), in collaboration with Plan Ghana, as part of activities geared towards the implementation of the “Youth Participate and Lead” project being implemented by the NYA in the region.
Traditional authorities, youth groups, students and stakeholders in the district participated in the forum, held under the theme “Creating an enabling environment for effective participation of the youth in decision making process at all levels”.
Some of the participants appealed to traditional authorities to enact by-laws against activities, such as night dance parties, which promote teenage pregnancy.
Mr Felix Wuurah, the acting Wa West district director of the NYA, said the forum was to create a platform for the youth to engage stakeholders on issues affecting their lives.
He said challenges such as teenage pregnancy, child abuse and unemployment, which militate against the development of young people, are multi-faceted and need the collaboration of all stakeholders.