From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Sunyani
Global Media Foundation (GloMeF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has said that records available indicate that over 12,000 teenage pregnancies are recorded annually in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions, with most of them regrettably coming from Christian and Moslem homes.
According to the NGO, the country recorded over 64,000 cases of teenage pregnancies last year alone, a situation which usually disrupts the academic pursuit of the girls and affects their development.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GloMeF, Mr Raphael Ahenu, who revealed the records, urged religious leaders in Ghana to spend part of their time to educate their congregants on sex and reproductive health related issues.
According to GloMeF, the move would help prevent sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies to avoid illegal abortions.
The lack of sexual and reproductive health education among most young people has led to wanton sexual exploitation, unwanted pregnancies, avoidable deaths, health complications and abuse of emergency contraceptives among others.
Mr. Ahenu was addressing separate health summits at Kwatire and Odomase, both in the Sunyani West District, in the Bono Region, as part of activities marking this year’s International Day of Action for Women’s Health.
Mr Ahenu noted that the practice where churches, mosques and parents shun sex education for their children is a major setback to the crusade against illegal abortions and teenage pregnancies.
GloMeF and its key partners -Indigenous Women Empowerment Network, Kingdom Dream Foundation and WEA Business Coalition Ghana, organised the health summit – dubbed “Grassroots Women Health Summit” to further deepen people’s awareness on sexual reproductive health, dangers associated with unsafe abortions and teenage pregnancies.
Mr. Ahenu encouraged parents to spend quality time with their children and take pragmatic steps to provide them with their basic needs, as a way of preventing them from engaging in early sex.
Each year, May 28, is set aside as the International Day of Action for Women’s Health.
For over 30 years, women and girls advocates and other partners have continued to take action and speak out for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), which has resulted in the decline in maternal mortality, child mortality and unintended pregnancy rates.
Since the PoA adoption in Cairo in 1994, important progress has been achieved for and by women, such as the decline in maternal mortality, child mortality and unintended pregnancy rates, increased access to education, family planning and skilled attendance at birth; increased global contraceptive prevalence rates and reduction of adolescent birth rates among others.
However, the full realisation of women’s SRHR remains far from being addressed, as women’s health has often been reduced to a limited understanding of maternal health, overlooking the actual needs of all women in their diversities.
Again, significant challenges persist in terms of recognizing sexual rights in addition to reproductive rights, ensuring universal access to contraceptives and safe and legal abortion, as well as comprehensive sexuality education for young people among other critical SRHR issues.