The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has appealed to queen-mothers to help stem the alarming rate of sexual promiscuity among girls in the country.
They must also ensure majority of girls in their localities complete basic education, enroll and benefit from the Free Senior High School Programme to pursue tertiary education.
Mrs Freda Prempeh, the Deputy sector Minister made the appeal when she addressed about 150 queen-mothers during a sensitization forum on adolescent girls’ sexual reproductive health right held at Duiayaw-Nkwanta in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region.
The Ministry with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised the forum to keep queen-mothers abreast with child rights conventions, protocols and laws.
Mrs Prempeh expressed concern about moral decadence and the alarming rate of promiscuity among boys and girls which required active and concerted efforts and support from queen-mothers to control.
She noted that looking at the trend of events, concerted and decisive efforts were needed to ensure proper upbringing and development of particularly the girl-child.
Mrs Prempeh who is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tano North Constituency observed that teachers alone could not shoulder the responsibility of promoting girl-child education, hence the need for parents and all stakeholders to contribute their quota.
She said with the implementation of the Free SHS programme, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government had strengthened the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education and no girl-child must be denied access to quality education.
She urged the queen-mothers must ensure traditional practices such as child and forced marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) that impeded the holistic development of girls were abolished.
The MP indicated reports showed teenage pregnancy was recording disturbing figures in the Municipality and appealed to the queen-mothers to do something about that.
Mr. Ernest Kwarteng, the Tano North Municipal Chief Executive regretted that between 2017 and 2019, 41 pregnant girls wrote the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) in the Municipality.
This, he explained was unacceptable, and called on stakeholders of education in the Municipality to be proactive to bring the situation under control.
Mr. Faisal Bawa, a Programme Assistant at the UNFPA, said teenage pregnancies had major consequences for mothers and their babies.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), globally pregnancy and childbirth complications were the leading cause of deaths among girls between 15 and 19 years with low and middle-income countries accounting for 99 per cent of global maternal deaths of women aged 15-49 years.
Child marriage, he explained was often a precursor to early pregnancy, which posed a host of health risks to girls whose bodies might not yet be matured enough for motherhood.
Sadly, Mr. Bawa said Ghana had a child marriage prevalence rate of 21 per cent with one out of five girls being married before their 18th birthday.
Nana Serwaa Nyarko, the paramount Queen-mother of the Duayaw-Nkwanta Traditional Area, said traditional authorities must consider the re-introduction of puberty rites to check girls against pre-marital sexual practices.
She however added that, that could not be successfully re-integrated in the society if the Ministry failed to give chiefs and queens the required amount of support.
Nana Nyarko commended the MP for her tremendous contributions towards the development of Duayaw-Nkwanta and the Municipality in general.
Mrs Joycelyn Adii, the Bono. Bono East and Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Gender reminded the queen-mothers that it was serious offence for them to take the lead to resolve cases of rape, defilement and domestic violent at home.
Queen-mothers must rather encourage victims and their parents to report such cases to the Police for perpetrators to be prosecuted, she said.