Panellists advocate sex education at home
Panellists at the Institute of Statistics, Social and Economic Research’s (ISSER) teenage pregnancy and school enrolment dialogue have stressed the need for a change in culture to enable parents to freely engage their children on sex education.
They explained that young people were mostly informed by different sources regarding sexual behaviour which mostly misinformed them on the right steps to take.
Hence it was important to ensure an amendment in our culture where sex education was not seen as a taboo in homes but instead a venture for the children to interact freely on the phases of sex education.
The panellists added that it was important for parents and guardians to build strong friendly relations with their children and wards by asking how their day went, assuring them of confidentiality and gaining the trust of the children so they could openly talk about sex education and the right way to go about it.
The event was a development dialogue to educate and get inputs into policy decisions concerning teenage pregnancy and finding ways to solve them.
The panellists were the Programme Officer, Safe Motherhood at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Abraham Baidoo, Education Specialist, UNICEF, Dr Madeez Adamu-Issah, an Associate Professor at the Social Division of ISSER, Prof. Adobea Yaa Owusu and Executive Director, National Population Council, Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah.
They engaged some students of the West African Senior High and Achimota School and other participants on topics which included the state of teenage pregnancy in Ghana, the implications of teenage pregnancy in education and national development, and prevention through parent-child discourse and family life education in the home.
Speaking on friendly relations, Rev. Prof. Owusu, said in building strong relations with children and wards, there was also a need to actively set boundaries for teenagers and adolescents, especially in early sexual indulgence to gain positive youth outcomes.
"A two-parent family defends teens against factors related to peer or financial, that could lead to teenage pregnancy and girls who had absent fathers before the age of five had the highest rate of teenage and adolescent sexual activity," she said.
On the issue of the implications of teenage pregnancy on education and national development, Dr Appiah, said the Ministry of Education would continue to deal with the issue of food security and infrastructure in education till they came to the realisation that teenage pregnancy and sexual education played pivotal roles in food security and infrastructure.
"Assuming majority of the teenage mothers returned to school to complete their education and they also enrolled few years after, certainly, the Minister of Education or his successor will continue to talk about school feeding, infrastructure among others mindful of the fact that the lack of quality child care is a ticking time bomb that detonates from time to time with fire consequences such as violent extremism," she said.
Dr Appiah said it was about time the country made the well-being of young people more important than ideology, out-dated culture or politics adding that in tolerating teenage pregnancy, the country would continually deal with an ever-increasing number of lower class population which would translate to a sicker population and workforce making our businesses less competitive with a slow socio-economic growth.
For his part, Dr Baidoo stated that teenage pregnancy was a major issue of public concern, “hence a concerted effort must be made to manage situation through stakeholder collaboration and an active participation targeted at appropriate prevention and management”.
Contributing, Dr Adamu-Issah also added that stringent measures should be put in place to intensify the education of sex and it’s related courses in school as a way to curb the menace if not eradicate it.