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Collaborate to reduce teenage pregnancies - Prof. Kwankye charges stakeholders

BY: Elizabeth Konadu-Boakye
 Prof. Stephen Owusu Kwankye (right), Associate Professor of the Regional Institute for Population Studies at the University of Ghana, addressing participants in the 2nd Bi-Annual Tracking Meeting on the implementation of the Adolescent Pregnancy Strategy in Accra
Prof. Stephen Owusu Kwankye (right), Associate Professor of the Regional Institute for Population Studies at the University of Ghana, addressing participants in the 2nd Bi-Annual Tracking Meeting on the implementation of the Adolescent Pregnancy Strategy in Accra

An Associate Professor of the Regional Institute for Population Studies at the University of Ghana, Prof. Stephen Owusu Kwankye, has urged stakeholders in the implementation of the Adolescent Pregnancy Strategy to collaborate with one another to achieve like-minded objectives.

Collaborations, he said, would help reduce the excess resources that were used in implementing their objectives of reducing teenage pregnancy among adolescent girls.

Prof. Kwankye, who was speaking at the 2nd Bi-Annual Tracking meeting on the implementation of the Adolescent Pregnancy Strategy in Accra, said it would be best to collaborate and form an alliance to merge resources, including human resources to achieve the objectives.

The objectives, he said, were to empower adolescents to make choices regarding their sexual lives and enable them to prevent early and unplanned pregnancies. 

He added that the objective was also to promote institutional and community engagement to prevent adolescent pregnancy and ensure that adolescents, especially the sexually active ones, had access to youth friendly and gender- sensitive sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Prof. Kwankye also advised stakeholders who had issues with donor partners with regards to where to operate and implement their strategies to present a good plan explaining why they needed to implement in those areas so their thoughts could be considered.

"If your donor partners are considering another area which you think would not be of help, present a proposal explaining why you think your offer is better," he advised.

Strategy meeting 

The meeting held in Accra brought together stakeholders implementing the strategy.

The stakeholders, which included the Ghana Education Service, National Youth Authority, Marie Stopes International, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), Alliance for Reproductive Health and the Youth Advocated Ghana, deliberated on practical ways of resolving the challenges that the country face with regards to adolescent pregnancies and come up with practical ideas which would go a long way to reduce the numbers.

Worrying 

The Chief Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Dr Afisah Zakariah, in a speech read on her behalf, said the numbers for adolescent pregnancies in the country in recent years had been worrying, despite the concerted efforts by stakeholders and the many interventions.

She stated that adolescent pregnancies were, therefore, a critical concern that had lifetime ramifications on the life, health, wealth and well-being of the adolescents, their children, families, communities, and the country at large.

"Girls are empowered by education not only because it opens doors to new opportunities, but also because it has a ripple effect throughout the family and society,” she said.