Ministry pledges support for girls to make informed choices

BY: Augustina Tawiah & Charleselta Abaidoo
Faustina Acheampong - Head Department of Gender
Faustina Acheampong - Head Department of Gender

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) has given the assurance that it will continue to work hand-in-hand with all stakeholders to provide adolescents with the right information, knowledge, skills and adolescent-friendly services.

That, it explained, was to help prevent unplanned pregnancies, empower girls to make informed choices and expand their skills and knowledge to pursue their future dreams.

The Head of the Department of Gender at the Ministry, Faustina Acheampong, gave the assurance at the bi-annual tracking meeting on the implementation of the Adolescent Pregnancy Strategy 2022 held in Accra on June 23.

The meeting sought to review and track progress on the implementation of the five-year Adolescent Pregnancy Strategy developed by the MOGCSP together with other stakeholders in 2018.

“Now in its final year of implementation, it is critical for us to review and track the progress of the implementation to identify gaps and ensure that the objective for its development is met,” she noted.

Vulnerability of girls

Ms Acheampong, who was speaking on behalf of the Chief Director of the MOGCSP, Dr Afisah Zakariah, said the vulnerability of many girls to unplanned pregnancies and other reproductive health challenges required collaboration and concerted efforts by government and all stakeholders.

She said it was for that reason that the Department of Gender, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Education and other stakeholders developed the five-year strategic plan to address adolescent pregnancies in the country.

She noted that adolescent girls in this part of the world, compared to their male counterparts, were more likely to drop out of school to marry at an early age and to bear the consequences of poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes.

Adolescents and young people are entitled to decent livelihoods. However, the needs and opportunities for girls and boys differ during their early stages of development. Girls face disproportionate risks related to the vulnerabilities they experience,” she noted.

Threat of teenage pregnancy

In a speech read on behalf of the acting UNFPA Representative in Ghana, Barnabas Yisa, a Gender Analyst, Selina Owusu, said the issue of teenage pregnancy was of utmost concern to the UNFPA because it posed a great threat to the well-being of girls and prevented them from realising their full potential in all aspects of development.

While pointing out that they wanted adolescent girls to thrive and transform, she re-affirmed the UNFPA’s support to the government’s efforts at empowering the adolescent girl.

Giving an overview on the institutional framework for monitoring the strategy, a Professor of the University of Ghana, Prof. S. O. Kwankye, called for more attention to be paid to young girls but without losing sight of the boys and explained that girls were very vulnerable.