More than 200 pupils from Bukom and its environs at the weekend participated in a durbar that discussed the effects of teenage pregnancy and the need to avoid it.
Known as the National Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Campaign, the event was organised by the Ghana Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) at the Bukom Square in Accra.
It was on the theme “Talk Early, Talk Often, Prevent Teenage Pregnancy “, and attracted participants from schools such as the Accra Sempe Primary and JHS, the Bishop Girls’ School and the St Mary’s Anglican Primary School.
Also present were community and opinion leaders from the area.
In his response to some questions posed by pupils and students, a spokesperson for the Gbese Mantse, Nii Anna Agbo, called on parents to dedicate resources to the education and welfare of their children and avoid wasting their resources on frivolous things such as funeral clothes.
“In this area, there is competition in the buying of funeral clothes, but there is no competition in taking care of our children. Let us all dedicate our time and resources just as we do to funerals and naming ceremonies,” he said.
He, however, urged the students not to use their parents negligence as an excuse to indulge in promiscuity , saying “that will ruin your future”
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For his part , a Doctor at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Dr Eugene Tettey, said teenage pregnancy could have devastating effect on the teenager, the family and society at large.
He advised the students and pupils to invest their time in their education and things that would have a positive impact on their future.
During question time, some of the pupils mentioned parental neglect as one of the major factors that had contributed to the increase in teenage pregnancy.
According to them, the inability or refusal of parents to cater for the needs of children, especially the girl child, sometimes forced the girls to seek help from men, a situation which could result in teenage pregnancy
“Instead of taking care of us, our parents use their money to buy funeral clothes to show off, “ one pupil said.
Others also blamed parents for not paying enough attention to the activities of their children, while others also maintained that some children would engage in irresponsible behaviours that could lead to teenage pregnancy irrespective of the sacrifices made by their parents to cater for their needs.
The Director of the Greater Accra Regional YMCA, Mr Reginald Ffoulkes Crabbe, said the campaign to curb teenage pregnancy was part of the YMCA’s agenda to empower young people in order to make them productive and useful citizens.
The YMCA, he said, was engaged in many activities to help improve the welfare of the youth.
“We have built about 18 day care centres across the country and have three technical and vocational centres where we train our youth to acquire various skills,” he added