A comprehensive sexuality education manual for young people titled “KnowItOwnItLiveIt” has been launched with a call on parents to intensify sex education among their children to minimise Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and teenage pregnancy in the country.
A Deputy Minister of Education, Mrs Barbara Asher Ayisi , who made the call said, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other STD infections among the youth between 15 to 24 years was 1.2 per cent in 2013 and increased to 1.8 per cent in 2014, and explained the situation could get worse if stakeholders, including the government, teachers, and parents did not come together to intensify sex education in schools and at home.
Mrs Ayisi made the call at a launch organised by the Planned Parents Association of Ghana (PPAG) in collaboration with Marie Stopes International Ghana (MSIG) in Accra on Tuesday.
The launch brought together partners, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Ghana Education Service (GES), the National Population Council (NPC), the National Youth Authority (NYA) among others to help empower the youth on their sexuality.
The 419-page manual has been programmed to help reduce the ncidence of large family size, promote the use of contraception for family planning and prevention of infections and drug abuse among the public, especially the youth.
The four-year milestone project and supported by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), UNESCO, Marie Stopes International Ghana (MSIG), GES is to provide content with an approach that does not only empower but prepares the youth effectively to enjoy their sexuality in healthy, safer, and in a responsible manner as they make informed decisions.
Expressing worry on teenage pregnancy, the deputy minister noted that the rate of teenage pregnancy in the country was 14 per cent, pointing out that, one in seven girls got pregnant before they turned 20 years therefore serious actions should be taken to reduce such occurrence.
In our contemporary times, she said, girls started to experience their menstrual cycle as early as nine years unlike the olden days where it started as late as 18 years, and therefore called on parents and teachers to take keen interest in sex education in order to make the youth responsible and sexually healthy.
Mrs Ayisi commended the organisers for producing such a manual and called on others to follow suit, noting that, the ministry had opened its doors to welcome any initiative that would help government achieve its vision on education.
The Director of Programmes of PPAG, Mr Albert Wuddah-Martey, said the manual served the exact purpose of promoting sexuality education in Ghana and beyond, which was a collective contribution of their partners.
He said the manual was the final product of an assessment and had well-defined contents that was agreed upon a consultative process with several partners and stakeholders in the country.
“It is structured to suit the educational and informational needs of the youth in the urban and rural poor communities as well as disabilities,” he noted.
PPAG was established in 1967 as a non –governmental organisation (NGO) affiliated to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
The association has a long history of leadership in family planning programmes in Ghana and has pioneered many projects including Family Life Education (FLE) for the youth, male clinics and the integration of family planning into community development projects.
It is currently the leading NGO providing Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services in Ghana. The association works to complement the efforts of government in providing better health care and development for the nation.