Volta Region records 6,039 adolesent pregnancies
The Volta Region recorded 6,039 adolescent pregnancies last year, with many of the girls becoming child brides or cohabiting with men for survival.
The Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, made the stunning disclosure at a Gender Equality Males’ Empowerment School (GEMS 2023) in Ho last week.
The school which was organised by the Department of Gender of the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Protection, with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), was on the theme “GEMS Action for Gender Equality, Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights: Men and Boys as Key Partners.
The main objective was to engage men and boys as partners in the crusade to end child marriage.
Thirty-two assembly members, youth and religious leaders from the Keta municipality, Central Tongu, South Dayi and North Dayi districts, and 32 boys selected from schools in those areas attended the two-day programme.
The Regional Minister cited data from the regional secretariat of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on adolescent pregnancies and said the situation posed a threat to the future development of not only the girls but boys as well since many of them engaged in indiscriminate and unprotected sex.
He observed that organisations such as the Department of Gender under the auspices of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC), in partnership with UNFPA, had rolled out a series of interventions to educate and empower stakeholders, including adolescents, on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, teenage pregnancy, child marriage and Adolescent
Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, among others.
Those interventions, Dr Letsa said, sought to galvanise the support of stakeholders such as parents, traditional authorities, community leaders, duty bearers, teachers and adolescents to create awareness to eliminate completely or drastically cases of SGBV, teenage pregnancy and child marriage in the region.
The Regional Director of Gender, Thywill Eyra Kpe, said advocacy for gender equality over the years had been shrouded in several misunderstandings that were contributing to the avoidance of many political debates on gender issues.
For instance, she said, some of the most common misconceptions included the notion that gender equality only concerned women, and men were the enemies.
However, Mrs Kpe said, gender equality required active roles of men, for which reason it was crucial to explain that gender equality concerned men, women, boys and girls.