The First Lady, Dr Lordina Mahama, has reiterated the need for Traditional and religious leaders to champion the crusade against child marriages in the country.
Delivering the keynote address to climax this year’s Apoo Festival in Techiman, the First lady, Dr. Lordina Mahama, noted that girls have been compelled to abandon their dreams of sound education, and also future profession as doctors, lawyers, and teachers among others and are now wives and mothers.
Data released by UNICEF revealed that 41,000 girls get married each day. The First Lady finds this trend worrying and unacceptable and therefore called on traditional leaders to join hands with relevant stakeholders to end child marriage.
“As a mother, the practice breaks my heart but more importantly it negatively affects the future of thousands of young girls across Ghana and beyond,” she said.
According to the First Lady, records indicate that due to population growth, the devastating results of child marriage were likely to affect larger number of girls in Africa in the coming years. She said the prevalence of child marriage in Ghana was fuelled by poverty, deeply rooted cultural norms and traditions that condone the practice.
The situation could also be caused by the restricted access and inadequate space in existing secondary schools. “This is why government’s effort at building new community day senior high schools must be encouraged,” she stated.
The Apoo festival, which is a major festival in the Brong Ahafo region, provides the inhabitants the opportunity to get “things off their chests”.
It attracts a wide patronage both indigenes and foreigners to reflect on issues of development and also plan for the future.
Dr Lordina Maham, used the occasion to call on the people to be agent of development and use the occasion to create the socio-economic partnership needed to promote investment for development.
She urged the people to be conscious about their health by regular visits to the hospital for check-ups to prevent severe sickness.
Being the founder of the Lordina Foundation, the First Lady organised a free breast cancer screening and other medical screening exercise for the people of Techiman and its environs. She expressed the commitment of the foundation to continue to raise awareness and provide education for the prevention of new HIV infections, breast and cervical cancers.
The Chief of Techiman traditional area, Oseadeyo Akumfi Ameyaw, IV commended government for his commitment to development in the area and appealed to government to help complete the various roads in the area.
He also commended the First Lady for organising the medical screening and also supporting to create awareness on HIV, breast and cervical cancer in the country and pledged to mobilise chiefs and queens mothers to support the initiative.