The Central Regional Director of the Department of Gender, Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, has underscored the need for the Ghana Education Service (GES) to review its policy on teaching of sexuality education in basic schools.
She said the policy that focused on abstinence was counterproductive to the fight against pregnancy among children.
“It is very conflicting that there is contraceptive education in the textbooks of the children, yet they are not taught comprehensive use,” she said.
Mrs Kpe was speaking at the post — World Population Day celebration in the Central Region on the theme: “Family Planning, Healthy People for Sustainable National Development”.
She said GES did not accept the comprehensive teaching of the use of contraceptives or family planning methods, saying although the children had family planning methods in their books, they were not allowed to be taught comprehensively on the use of contraceptives.
Mrs Kpe, therefore, underscored the need to provide access to advice on the use of contraceptives and to support the use of contraceptives by young girls as the reality was that they had become sexually active.
“There is the need to shy away from hypocritical tendencies. We need to join hands to achieve this result,” she said.
Speaking on the essence of the celebration, the Central Region Population Officer, Mr Augustine A. Jongtey, said population growth affected the growth of a country’s economy and family planning played an important role in the sustainable development.
He disclosed that the region had recorded an increase of 38.1 per cent in its population between the censuses of 2000 and 2010, making it the highest in the country.
He said the region also had the highest annual average inter-censual growth rate of 3.1 per cent, according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census report.
Quoting the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (2014GDHS) to support his claims, he said the total fertility rate (TFR), which is the number of children a woman was expected to have by the time she completed her childbearing, was averagely five for the region against a national average of four.
Mr Jongtey said if the region was to experience sustainable development there was the need for a lower total fertility than the present one, stressing “family planning remains the most effective means to achieve this.”
The Central Regional Project Officer of Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPGA), Mr Micheal Tagoe, advised that citizens and traditional leaders should be reached with family planning messages, thereby dispelling myths and misconceptions asthey were some of the challenges facing the effective use of family planning methods.
He said members of the communities should be properly educated on how to use contraceptives and also be educated on how cheap they were so as to encourage use by adolescents.
The Central Economic Planning Officer, Mrs Lucy Owusu-Ansah, stressed the need to use festivals as platforms to educate the younger generation on the use of contraceptives and the need for family planning.