The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) has intensified public advocacy on teenage pregnancies in the Central Region to help reduce the high prevalence rate.
The stakeholders’ engagement is being spearheaded by MGCSP in collaboration with the Central Regional Coordinating Council (CRCC) with support from the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA).
The UNFPA has contributed immensely over the past three years through its various local initiatives to end child marriages, teenage pregnancies and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
The move involved building the capacity of traditional leaders including family heads on best human rights approaches to addressing the challenges of teenage pregnancies, child marriages and SGBV to ensure that rights were not infringed upon.
Speaking at a workshop held under the theme: “The human rights approach to reduce adolescent pregnancy, child marriage and sexual and gender based violence in the Central Region”, Mrs Thywill Eyram Kpe, Regional Director of the Department of Gender, called for the support of all to make the effort a success.
Enumerating some causes of teenage pregnancies, she cited poverty, illiteracy, negative cultural practices and lack of role models for young girls as the common driving forces of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in the region.
She said the distressing data of the high prevalent rate of the menace and other forms of rights violations was a drawback to the development of young girls.
Mrs Kpe said the region was experiencing the high incidence of child marriages mainly as a result of adolescent pregnancies and cohabitation of young girls who due to their unfortunate circumstances have had to live with men although not married.
Touching on some regional statistics, she said one out of every three girls (31.2) per cent in the region married or cohabited before attaining18 years.
She said the region has recorded a drastic reduction in teenage pregnancies over the last three years from 13,014 in 2015 to 12,409 in 2016, which represented a reduction of 13.3 per cent.
This had also culminated in a significant reduction of sexual and gender based violence 3,314 in 2015 to 2,666 in 2016.
She commended some districts for making giant strides towards reducing the concern in the last three years in their jurisdictions.
They include the Cape Coast Metropolis, Mfantsiman Municipality, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrim, Abura Aseibu Keamankese and the Ajumako Eyan Asiam.
Highlighting the role of traditional leaders to ending the concern, Mrs Ekpe said the revered chieftaincy institution is a core segment in the process and expressed the Ministry’s commitment to protect the rights of the vulnerable in society.
Reverend Dr Comfort Asare, National Director, Department of Gender, MGCSP, urged traditional and religious leaders and victims to desist from settling issues of human rights violations but report them to the law enforcement agencies for redress.
She urged them to regularly engage their subjects to explain issues of human rights violations and means of seeking redress to protect their rights as enshrined in the constitution.