Dr Betty Bankah (2nd from right), Specialist Family Physician and Adolescent Care, making a presentation during a panel discussion. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
Dr Betty Bankah (2nd from right), Specialist Family Physician and Adolescent Care, making a presentation during a panel discussion. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

Experts call for increased advocacy on adolescent mental, sexual health

Health experts have said that increasing advocacy on adolescent mental, sexual and reproductive health was an effective way of dealing with them.


They were speaking at a national forum in Accra yesterday on adolescent health to increase awareness and well-being.

Other issues discussed included teenage pregnancy, cervical cancer, substance abuse and mental health which were said to be on the ascendancy and needed urgent solutions.

The experts included an obstetrician gynaecologist and reproductive health consultant at the Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate, Dr Emmanuel Ameh; a psychiatrist at the Pantang Hospital, Dr Selasie Addom; the Head of Adolescent Care Clinic at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Dr Betty Bankah; the President of the Paediatric Society of Ghana, Hilda Manteba Boye, and the President of Diabetes Youth Care, Richel Arthur.

The forum which was organised by the Pediatric Society of Ghana, was also to give a voice to the about seven million adolescents in the country to talk about their concerns and recommend approaches that would help them better.

Some young people living with diabetes and sickle cell anaemia also shared their experiences and encouraged young people living with other various health conditions never to allow such conditions to prevent them from maximising their potential.

Dr Ameh said in the case of teenage pregnancy, prevention was key because the bodies of young people were not developed enough to carry pregnancies.

He said it also increased their vulnerabilities to pregnancy-related complications such as anaemia, hypertension, bleeding, premature delivery and death.

Dr Ameh, therefore, said it was critical to empower both boys and girls with the requisite information on their sexuality to enable them to make informed decisions.

“We advise that you abstain but if you want to have sexual intercourse, you can visit any family planning or reproductive health service provider and get the support you need so that you don't get pregnant or get any sexually transmitted infection,” he said.


For her part, Dr Boye also explained that the Paediatric Society of Ghana organised the forum to improve awareness of adolescent health and well-being to boost the assertiveness, positive decision-making and positive peer influencing of adolescents in communities.

She advised young people against smoking of weed and or including it in food or drinks as it was harmful to their mental health.

Dr Boye said that sometimes it was difficult to know whether a person was using harmful substances until symptoms such as change in behaviour, hallucinations, reddening of eyes, among others, set in, by which time the condition might have reached a critical stage.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...