The question often asked by many is, why the issue of teenage pregnancy, however, distracting is still progressively developing.
The Ghanaian child’s education more often than not is affected by pregnancy, but the issue amongst many is prompting attention and a national issue of concern in Ghana.
Teenage pregnancy sometimes referred to as early motherhood is when a teenager out of wedlock gets pregnant. As of who and what to blame, most people believe we link it to poverty, unemployment, lack of parental supervision, and ignorance.
In Ghana the above listedconditions forces the kids to be expelled from school when pregnant, with the excuse others will emulate as such actions become inimical to their success and render such pupils’ failures in their academic pursuits and their prospective societies.
One disturbing consequence of both early menstruation and the trend for advanced sexuality is that 1.2 million young girls become pregnant each year, many between age 10 – 14. Of the 1.2 million preteen and teen pregnancies, about 100,000 end in miscarriage or still birth. 440,000 preteen and teenage girls choose abortion whiles over half of the girls that is 560,00 give birth each year. 97% however decide to keep the babies. It is therefore worth stating that teenage pregnancy is not restricted to the western world. Records however show an alarming rate in Africa and Ghana is not an exception.
A look at the root causes of teenage pregnancy and there is the issue of Poverty; this issue remains a disturbing cause of the numerous teenage motherhoods. Lack of basic necessities such as clothing, food, love, push young folks into stealing, tedious jobs, prostitution amongst many making them liable to diseases. Secondly, Lack of sexual education is a contributing factor as teenagers are ignorant on the issue of premarital sex and its associated consequences and probably how to prevent and utilize safe methods to prevent early pregnancies.
Moving forward is the issue of Parental care and proper supervision which includes providing for kids physically, mentally, financially and spiritually to mold them into individually upright people. Others however include Broken homes, early exposure to sex through the influence of pornographic materials, video and television shows with its twin attendant being peer influence.That notwithstanding, we can all bare witness social media use and the exposure to explicit materials has also contributed intensely to teenage motherhood. In the face of aforementioned factors, many myths permeate discussions of the causes of adolescent pregnancy and complicate what is actually a fairly simple matter.
Mrs Bawumia, the second lady in Ghana is very worried over the issue. Since 30% of births registered in Ghana 2014 were by adolescents mostly between 13-19. A total of 8873 births were recorded at various health centers – disclosed by the Ghana Health service in 2018 between January and June. She finds it unacceptable as children, as young as 10 are dropped out of school increasing the vicious cycle of poverty.
She also believes there is a dying need to help young girls through expansion of learning opportunities to be better equipped. These issues greatly affect numerous towns in all regions in Ghana. She said the strategic plan on addressing adolescent pregnancy feed into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3, ensuring healthy life and promoting the wellbeing for all speaking at the lunch of the 5year strategic plan to address adolescent pregnancy by the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Accra on October 12, 2018. This touched the heart of many as the Second lady was seen Worthy of emulation by her words. Evidence also suggests that, teenagers who have repeat pregnancies were likely to face many obstacles to education and economic self-sufficiency. This menace however disturbing if not eradicated needs substantive measures to help curb.
What more can the Government and other Stakeholders do in addition?
The Government in line with District Assemblies should enact laws coupled with employment opportunities and measures effective enough to reduce the issue of early motherhood. Also churches, youth associations and parents should effectively and openly educate wards about sex and its associated consequence. The old moral values of marriage before childbirth however young is also a very important factor to be considered. This practice ensured young women do not get pregnant out of wedlock and respectfully had husbands before giving birth.
An advice to teenage girls who find themselves in this position however is to always choose childbirth over the option of abortion. A life gained is important than a life lost. It is high time a call to action and a reciprocal response of correction is inculcated into young folks.
A better Ghana can be achieved based on individual effort.
By: Barbara Nyarko
Ghana Institute Of Journalism