The Assin South District recorded the highest number of adolescent pregnancies in the first quarter of 2020 in the Central Region.
Out of a total of 1,352 pregnancies recorded in the district for the first half, 250 were adolescent girls between the age bracket of 10-19 years representing 18.5 percent.
The district had in the last three years recorded a total of 757 adolescent pregnancies being 258, 249, and 250 in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.
The district’s performance was above the regional target of 11.5 percent, says Mr Bandele Haruna Junior, a Health Promotion Officer at the District Health Directorate.
He was speaking at a sensitisation programme for some selected adolescent girls, boys, and parents on the implications of unprotected sex, sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence, and reproductive health issues at Assin-Asamankese on Wednesday.
The programme was put together by the Central Regional Department of Gender in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating Council and supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Among others, Mr Haruna mentioned the heightened activities of some young unemployed boys he referred to as “fraud or “sakawa” boys”, who as a result of poverty lured young girls into unprotected sex and abandon them thereafter.
Additionally, poor and irresponsible parenting, access to mobile phones and pornographic materials, lack of mentors, assertiveness, and pressure on girls to birth early as a sign of fertility are all contributing factors.
Mr Haruna announced plans by the District Health Directorate to scale up community-to-community sensitisation, increase adolescent health corners and work in tandem with key stakeholders – District Assembly, Department of Gender, UNFPA, traditional and religious leaders to reverse the rising trend of adolescent pregnancies.
Using herself as a mentor to the young girls, Mrs. Thywill Eyra Kpe, Central Region Director of the Department of Gender encouraged the girls to set visions for themselves to guide them to remain focused and determined to succeed.
They should have positive mentors who will inspire and support them to enhance their chances for success.
Mr Randford Appiah, Assin South Director of Education called on parents not to abandon their adolescent girls who got pregnant, but support and empower them to better themselves.
He said parents often neglected the social, psychological, and physiological needs of their children, which often led them astray as they sought support from the wrong people.
They should not shirk their responsibilities to unscrupulous men who impregnate young girls by relegating teenage mothers to their fate.
“Sometimes when you see some children in school, you ask yourself if you are coming from home. Their uniforms are tattered and appeared unkept – affecting their self-confidence,” he said.