The Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) has expressed worry over the rate at which the youth are abusing emergency contraceptives in their quest to forestall unwanted pregnancies, ABC News can report.
According to the Youth Programme Officer of the PPAG for the Central and Western Regions, Michael Tagoe, the misuse of contraceptives was high among the youth and could have dire consequences on their reproductive system.
He, therefore, cautioned the youth against the use of emergency contraceptives as they were not designed to be used on regular basis.
“A lot of people have suffered some sexual challenges and infections because of some bad decisions,” he noted, adding that the youth experienced unintended pregnancies due to curiosity and lack of knowledge.
He was addressing some members of faith-based youth groups at a capacity building workshop on “Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR),” at Twifo Hemang in the Central Region.
The workshop was organised by the National Youth Authority (NYA) in collaboration with the Regional Coordinating Council and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
According to experts, even though birth control pills are very safe, excessive use of the pill can slightly increase one’s risk of health problems. Although the complications are said to be rare, they can be serious depending on the extent of abuse.
Among the complications are heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and liver tumors. In very rare cases, they can lead to death.
A study conducted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 2013 amongst women in Ejisu in the Ejisu-Juaben municipality of the Ashanti Region, discovered that the fear of side effects of contraceptives made a lot of women discontinue their use.
Out of the 700 women interviewed, 33 per cent, that is 231, cited the fear of the side effects as the main reason why they discontinued the usage.
Mr Tagoe underscored the need for intensive education on issues relating to reproductive sexuality to equip the youth with the requisite knowledge to prevent unwanted pregnancies and spread of sexually transmitted infections.
He further advised the girls to stay off self-induced abortions because it was unsafe and criminal.
Corporal Richard Twum, the Sexual Offenses and Domestic Relations Investigator at DOVVSU, who educated participants on sexual offenses and related punishments, cautioned that perpetrators of rape, defilement, incest and indecent assault could face a number of jail terms.
He described as wrong failure on the part of some parents to report persons who engaged in sexual misconducts against their children, stressing that such practices have the potential to expose their children to danger.
For his part, the Regional Director of the NYA, Mr Emmanuel Martey, said religious organisations were often reluctant to openly discuss sexuality or reproductive health issues on the basis of morality.
That, he said, kept majority of their youth in perpetual ignorance and called for more awareness to sensitise the youth on the subject.