Paediatric Society holds forum on adolescent sexual, mental health
The Paediatric Society of Ghana (PSG), a child and adolescent health advocacy group, organised a forum in Accra last Wednesday to tackle issues pertaining to teenage pregnancy, mental health and general adolescent well-being.
The forum, on the theme: "Young people for change in Ghana" , brought together healthcare professionals, governmental agencies, pupils and parents to deliberate on issues crucial to the youth's well-being and empowerment.
In attendance were pupils of the St Barnabas Anglican Basic School, Osu Presby 2 Boys Junior High School, Osu Manhean Basic School, the Aggrey Memorial Senior High School and five others within the Korle-Klottey Municipality of Accra.
A five-member panel made up of an obstetrician/gynecologist and reproductive health consultant with the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, (GARH), Dr Emmanuel Ogbada Ameh, Head of the adolescent healthcare clinic of the GARH, Dr Betty Bankah, a psychiatrist at the Pantang Hospital, Dr Selasie Addom, President of the PSG, Dr Hilda Mantebea Boye and a member of the Diabetes Youth Care, Ms Rachel Arthur.
The panel addressed the negative effects of teenage pregnancy, risks of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases (STIs and STDs) with unprotected sex, drug abuse, womanising and following bad social media trends.
The risk of falling into depression, mood swings, mental fatigue, among other mental health issues, were also discussed.
The panellists advocated the intensification in the training of school counsellors, teachers, nurses and parents to effectively identify, treat and advise adolescents who present certain personal and health issues to them.
In a speech, the President of PSG, Dr Boye emphasised the critical role the youth played in shaping the future of the nation.
Dr Boye stated, "Our young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow; they are active participants in today's society.
It is our collective responsibility, therefore, to ensure that they have access to the tools, knowledge, and the support to effect positive change."
She added that PSG had, over the years, spearheaded key advocacy activities such as organising medical outreaches in communities, churches and deprived areas, and engaging stakeholders to discuss, plan and implement vital initiatives for the well-being of children in Ghana.
As part of this mission, subsequent editions of this event will be held in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender and Children Support Unit, and parliamentary select committees on child sexual, mental and physical wellbeing, she added.
One of the highlights of the event was a session where adolescents shared their journeys and challenges faced in suffering from chronic ailments such as diabetes and sickle cell anaemia.
One panellist, Ms Arthur who is also a student of the Methodist University, shared her battle with diabetes, since the age of 10.
“I want to encourage adolescent and children living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes not to give up, the journey might be tough but we must prevail. Remember to take your medications, follow health and nutrition instructions.
Ms Abena Opoku, a parent, who attended the forum, expressed her appreciation for the focus of the event being on youth empowerment.
"This forum opened my eyes to the many challenges our young ones face today," she said.
The Pediatric Society of Ghana's "Youth for Change" forum concluded with a commitment from all participants to work collaboratively towards a brighter future for Ghana's children.