A total of 30 adolescent female apprentices have been trained on Reproductive Health Services, accessibility to youth-friendly centres and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at Apimanim in the Ahanta West Municipality.
The training was organised by the Western Regional Coordinating Council, the National Youth Authority and the United Nations Population Fund with financial support from the Canadian Government.
Mr Anthony Baah, the Western Regional Director of the National Youth Authority, said the programme sought to educate adolescent apprentices between the ages of 15 and 19 on Reproductive Health Services.
It will also equip them with knowledge and skill on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR).
Mr Baah said the youth did not have information on Sexual and Reproductive Services due to low literacy levels and the myths regarding sexual education.
This, he noted, has resulted in the youth seeking assistance from peers and quack practitioners and ending up with the wrong advice.
Mr Baah said the Western Regional Coordinating Council, the National Youth Authority and partners organized the forum to encourage teenage pregnant girls and teenage mothers to access such facilities.
Mr Baah urged the participants to become ambassadors in their various communities and to impact the knowledge acquired to their peers.
Madam Sandra Kuntu from the Ghana Health Service (GHS ), said while the young adolescents have the rights of consent to sex, they should be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions.
Madam Kuntu said the youth also have rights to Sexual Reproductive Health information which was available at the various health facilities and youth-friendly centres within the districts.
He urged them to make use of such facilities to help improve upon their Sexual Reproductive lives.
She said abstinence was the best option for the youth but said those unable to control themselves should use contraceptives such as condoms and family planning methods to prevent early parenthood, unsafe abortion, sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and HIV/ AIDS.
Madam Kuntu cautioned the youth to desist from taking concoctions in an attempt to terminate pregnancies.
They should rather visit appropriate health facilities to seek professional care.
She advised them to be careful of the kind of choices they make since that could determine their future.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Frank Nana Asumani from the Western Regional Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), noted that many of the youth were ignorant of the laws that protected them.
He said the training would help to educate them on the laws and the appropriate institutions they could report to if they become victims of violence or any form of abuse.
He explained that sexual abuse such as rape, defilements, and incest were criminal offences punishable by a jail term not exceeding 25 years.
DSP Asumani stated that aside rape, defilements and incest, there were other offences such as physical, economic and psychological abuse, which are also punishable by law.
He advised the youth not to ignore such offences because they could destroy their lives.
Madam Henrietta Eyison, the Municipal Chief Executive of Ahanta West, urged them to take the lessons seriously to be able to explain and educate their peers.
She called on the youth to adhere to the advice of their parents to help shape their lives to become responsible adults in future.
The MCE advised the youth to become agents of change and role models in their families and communities.