Ave-Havi (VR), Aug 23, GNA- Stakeholders including chiefs and opinion leaders in the Akatsi North District, have expressed their readiness to improve on their position on the teenage pregnancy league table in the Region.
The 2019 and 2018 Ghana Health Service District Ranking of teenage pregnancy put the District in the first position for having the highest rate in the Volta Region making the Region with the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy.
The stakeholders at a day’s advocacy forum on prevention and reduction of teenage pregnancy/child marriage at Ave-Havi said that tag was becoming embarrassing to the district, thus, the need for concerted efforts to reduce the incidence.
The forum organised by the Department of Gender (DoG), Volta Region with funding support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the third of its kind in Akatsi North, brought together traditional leaders, assembly members, group leaders and heads of departments.
Dr Prince Amuzu Sodoke, District Chief Executive for Akatsi North, said the District was performing well in other areas, but when it came to reproductive health, it performed poorly and noted that the assembly would together with key stakeholders, tackle the issue holistically.
“This teenage pregnancy is affecting our performance. Local Government Service assessment of districts’ performance ranked our district the first in the Region but fourth in the country, due to this issue.
“The Assembly and other organisations have made efforts at raising awareness and educating communities, but there’s not much change. We will need to consider a lot of things including the bordering nature of the District to effectively address the problem.”
Madam Augustina Aku Modzakah, the District Girl Child Education Officer, said before the COVID-19 pandemic, schools were doing their bit to support the fight against teenage pregnancy/child marriage through career conference celebrations.
She said the concept termed “Operation Protect My Dream” which involved Parents Teachers Association (PTA) meetings and pupils dressing in their desired future profession al attires, aimed to challenge the children, their parents and the communities to play key roles to keep children particularly girls in school to realise their dreams.
Mr Israel Aklorbortu, Volta Regional Director, Department of Children, urged all to be advocates for rights of children/teenagers in society, saying these were difficult times requiring the support for children so they could grow up into important citizens in future.
He underscored the need for communities to watch out for threats such as peer pressure, substance abuse, social media, child trafficking, poverty and poor parenting, so they did not ruin the lives of children but rather guard them with the right information needed on their education and sexual reproductive health so as to make the right decisions in life.
Madam Lena Alai, Volta Regional Director, DoG, called on the chiefs and people of Akatsi North to do their very best to mitigate the increasing rate of teenage girls becoming pregnant, because at the end, that cycle would get intensified where children of these teenage mothers would take after their mothers and then the District would ultimately suffer as citizens would not be in position to contribute to its development in future.