Promote Reproductive Health Education Among Adolescents – Youth Parliament Urges Stakeholders

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Promote Reproductive Health Education Among Adolescents
Promote Reproductive Health Education Among Adolescents

The Upper West Regional Youth Parliament has called on parents, the clergy, traditional authorities, and other stakeholders to promote sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education among adolescents in their communities.

It said adolescents should be made to have adequate knowledge of their sexual and reproductive health to enable them to make informed decisions about their lives.

Promote Reproductive Health Education Among Adolescents
Promote Reproductive Health Education Among Adolescents

Speaking at a stakeholder engagement on April 24, 2024, at Funsi, Wa East District capital, the Speaker of the Youth Parliament, Rt Hon James Baba Anabiga said various stakeholders have significant roles to play in educating adolescents about their SRH.

The stakeholder engagement, supported by Plan International Ghana, formed part of the Youth Parliament’s initiatives toward reducing teenage pregnancies and related reproductive health vices among young people, especially girls in the Wa East District.

“And this issue needs a multi-dimensional approach to be tackled and that is why we are involving diverse groups of stakeholders and different approaches. Everybody has a role to play in this matter: parents, chiefs and traditional leaders, teachers, health workers, imams and pastors, everybody here including the adolescents themselves,” he said.

He urged parents should normalize speaking to their children about their sexual and reproductive health and not to criminalize it, causing the children to learn wrongly from their peers and other people.

He said it was more dangerous for children to learn about their sexual and reproductive life from other people or peers because most parents deem it impious and would not talk to children about their sexual health.

“The danger is that, when parents refuse to talk to their children about sex, these children will get to learn, not the right way but the wrong way, and when they learn the wrong way, that is where the problem starts,” he stated.

Rt Hon Anabaiga also called on traditional authorities to endeavor to promote SRH in their meetings and durbars while he urged the churches and mosques to devote time to preaching SRH education and well-being.

He encouraged healthcare workers to make their facilities adolescent-friendly and teachers to incorporate SRH education in their teaching and learning activities.

Meanwhile, he observed that most adolescents lacked the confidence and assertiveness to negotiate their sexual rights largely due to the socio-cultural upbringing where children are told to not talk about sexuality.

“And because of how we train our children, they don’t have the confidence to even say No when someone makes advances at them, even to the point that some adults perpetuate sexual violations against them because they are told to respect elders and they have over-respected them. They can’t say No when an elder proposes sex to them,” he observed.

He, however, admonished the adolescents to be responsible in their dealings and take care of themselves by developing confidence and learning to say “No” when they have to.

The Assembly Member for Buffiama Electoral Area, Hon Moses Kankpan urged other stakeholders to uphold the discussions and decisions that were taken from the meeting to ensure that it benefits the adolescents and their communities as well.

Promote Reproductive Health Education Among Adolescents
Promote Reproductive Health Education Among Adolescents

“I think my coming here, I have been abreast with certain things that I know if we go by them, my only prayer is that we shouldn’t just hear them and go and throw them away if we can put them into place, I think at the end of the day, teenage pregnancy, if not stopped, would be reduced to the minimal,” he said.

Mr Dumah Seidu Timothy, a parent, said he was going to engage other parents on the need to take up their parental responsibilities in catering to the needs of their children.

“I have learned a lot and I will encourage a lot of parents if we can go by these, our children will have the best of advice and they will take the best of advice from us,” he said.

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