‘Adolescents not interested in abstinence message’
Adolescent health providers in the Tema Metropolis say most young people are no longer interested in the abstinence message
According to them, adolescents who had already had sex were not willing to abstain, making the abstinence preaching non-effective.
One of the providers said “it looks like the abstinence preaching is not working as they prefer going for sex rather than abstaining.
One of my clients, who is about 16 years, is carrying her second pregnancy even though we advised her to abstain after the first one”.
They revealed this last Wednesday during a day’s adolescent training programme for the providers, patrons of adolescent school clubs, Social Welfare and Community Development, media and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service.
Family planning services
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Some of them blamed the development on the availability of family planning services to the adolescents aged between 10 and 19 most girls within the age bracket were on family planning.
Others, however, believed that putting such adolescent girls on family planning rather would help save their lives since without it, many would end up pregnant and either resort to criminal abortions or end up giving birth to children they could not cater for.
A representative from DOVVSU Tema Regional Command, Chief Inspector Sabina Ama Blay, said her outfit sometimes recommended to such girls who reported to her outfit to access family planning services from the health centres after having a conversation with them.
She observed that some of the girls who were actively engaging in sexual activities got pregnant and reported to DOVVSU when the men or boys responsible denied their involvement with them.
The Tema Metropolitan Social Welfare and Community Development Officer, Madam Matilda Mahama, for her part, stated that her outfit also recommended family planning to their young clients who sought help on maintenance issues.
The National Programme Officer, Adolescent Health, Ghana Health Service, Mrs Gifty Francisca Ben-Aryee, urged adolescent health providers not to force abstinence on adolescents who visited their facilities.
She encouraged them to listen to the adolescents, provide them with the needed information and help them make informed decisions instead of imposing their will on them.
The Tema Metropolitan Health Director, Dr John Yabani, commended the adolescent health providers and the club matron for making themselves available to the young people, observing that the club’s programme was picking up in the area, with other regions visiting
Tema to learn from their experience.— GNA