The low level of reproductive health education is a contributory factor to teenage pregnancies.
A total of 6,269 teenage pregnancies were recorded in the Ashanti Region between January and June this year, Dr. Kwasi Yeboah-Awudzi, Deputy Regional Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Services (GHS), has disclosed.
Out of this, 192 fell below age 14.
The region also recorded 12,723 cases of teenage pregnancies in 2017 and 254 out of this fell below age 15.
Dr. Yeboah-Awudzi, who was addressing the opening session of this year’s adolescent health ambassadors camp in Kumasi, said there is a significant reduction in teenage pregnancy cases in the region and this is attributable to the sustained educational campaign on reproductive and sexual health issues.
The multi-sectoral campaign is targeting young adolescents and students in basic and second-cycle institutions.
The two-day programme is on the theme: ‘Equipping Young People as Health Ambassadors for Sustainable Development’.
It was put together by GHS and GES, with technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and some private sector health-based organisations.
Topics to be dealt with include ‘adolescent development and sexuality’, ‘building healthy relationship with the opposite sex’, ‘communication skills’, ‘goal setting and decision-making’, ‘abstinence and adolescent pregnancy’, ‘overcoming peer pressure’ to ‘substance abuse and self-esteem’.
More than 500 young adolescents and students drawn from all over the country have gathered for the event.
Dr. Yeboah-Awudzi explained that it is appropriate that the participants are taken through issues that border on reproductive health since adolescence is a critical stage in one’s life.
“The earlier our youth are taught the dangers emanating from pre-marital sex, the better it would be for their own growth and development,” he observed.
Dr Robert Mensah, a reproductive health specialist of the UNFPA, indicated that the youth are vulnerable when it comes to reproductive health issues.
This, he mentioned, is due to the lack of information on access to reproductive health services.
Dr Mensah, therefore, advocated investment in that sector to curtail the high rate of teenage pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections amongst young adolescents.