Double standards and hypocrisy are the bane of effective sexuality education in the country, Mr Michael Tagoe, Youth Program Officer of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), for the Western and Central Regions has noted.
He said Ghanaians must change from “double standards and hypocrisy” about sexuality education and family planning to effectively address reproductive health challenges of the youth.
The country to scale up efforts and preach about comprehensive sexuality education and family planning to save the youth from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), he said.
Mr Tagoe was speaking at a day’s dialogue with Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) and youth group leaders on “comprehensive sexuality education, adolescent sexual reproductive health and youth friendly services” at Twifo Hemang on Wednesday.
It was organised by the National Youth Authority (NYA) in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
He noted that culture and religion had been used to downplay sexuality education and family planning over the years with the reason that it promoted promiscuity, without offering any better solution to the real challenges of adolescent reproductive health.
The high teenage pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and abortion with its attendant high mortality rate was an indication that the youth were already engaging in sex and must be educated to make the right choices.
Mr Tagoe called on all stakeholders especially, parents, community leaders and faith-based organisations who command enormous respect in their communities to get involved in educating the youth to empower them to respond to real issues that confronted them.
Parents must adequately explain sexual and reproductive health issues with their children to stop them from depending on their peers for wrong information.
Giving a situational overview of Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) in the Region, Mrs Cynthia Aba Wilson, a Public Health Nurse with the Regional Health Directorate hinted that the rate of teenage pregnancy had dropped since 2014.
This was due to intensified education by her outfit and its partners and called for more collaboration by stakeholders to further reduce the phenomenon and save the youth from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Adolescent girls, she noted failed to visit health facilities due to lack of privacy and therefore the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was establishing youth friendly centres at health facilities to address the reproductive health needs of the adolescent.
Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, Regional Director of the Department of Gender took the participants through Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and adolescent reproductive health rights and indicated that SGBV had long term effect on victims.
She encouraged victims of SGBV to report to appropriate authorities for the perpetrators to face the full rigorous of the law and advised them to also seek professional counselling.
Mr Emmanuel Sodja Martey, Regional Director of the NYA said the dialogue was aimed at reducing the rate of unwanted teenage pregnancies and abortions and also to equip the youth to address gender related issues.
Sixty youth leaders selected from five districts of the region participated in the dialogue.