Health News of 2014-01-22

Youth educated on adolescent reproduction

A Principal Nursing Officer (PNO) at the Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Clinic of the Adabraka Polyclinic, Ms Bernice Okoh, has called on young girls to desist from using postinor to prevent pregnancy after sex.

According to her, the current trend was that young girls were using postinor, which was an oral emergency contraceptive, to prevent them from becoming pregnant.

Ms Okoh, who made that known at a youth colloquium on “Adolescent pregnancy, abortion and the effects on adolescent development,” organised by the National Population Council (NPC) in Accra, said the worrying fact was that most of those girls who reported at the STI Clinic indicated that the drugs were given to them by their boyfriends.

Postinor as contraceptive

Postinor can help prevent pregnancy if taken within three days of unprotected sex and it is more effective the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex, but according to Ms Okoh, the drug should be taken once in a year.

However, she said some of those young girls took the drug regularly after every sexual intercourse.

That act, she said, could lead to weaknesses in their uterus, among other complications.

Postinor, she advised, should only be used as an emergency measure.

Ms Okoh, who was speaking on reproductive tract infections, also called on the youth to practise safe sex, saying that both men and women were at risk when it came to contracting STIs.

She also called on boys to desist from practising homosexualism, saying that many young boys were reporting with anal watts at the clinic.

Teenage pregnancy

Ms Diana Bona, a Principal Nursing Officer, Public Health, in a presentation, said a total of 1,107 teenagers between 10 and 14 years had reported with pregnancies between 2010 and 2013 to health facilities in the Greater Accra Region

Another 41,431 teenagers between 15 and 19 years reported with pregnancies to health facilities within the Greater Accra Region over the same period.

According to her, the sad aspect of the situation was that the number of people who committed abortion was more than those numbers recorded for pregnancies and, therefore, called on the youth to desist from having unprotected sex.

She said not only did abortions end the life of a baby, but they also had harmful physical, emotional and spiritual effects on the women involved.

The Greater Accra Regional Director of Health, Dr Linda Vanotoo, called on parents to educate their wards on sex, saying that sexual instinct was part of the growing up process and that the most important part was how it was managed.

The Greater Accra Regional Director of the NPC, Ms Florence Hagan, said the country’s population was youthful and, therefore, the need to talk to them about sex, adding that sexual habit was formed at the adolescent stage.

She said adolescent and teenage pregnancy was the most contributory factor to maternal mortality in the country.