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Regional News Thu, 17 Jun 2004

Children's pregnancy in Kwahu South due to neglect

Mpreaso (E/R), June 17, GNA - Twenty-three girls became pregnant in the Kwahu South district they were between the ages of 10 and 14 years. This is an increase of over 11 as recorded the previous years for the same age group.

The district also recorded 1,663 pregnancies among girls between the ages of 15 and 19, which is also an increase of 163 over the previous year's figure of 1500 for the same age groups. This was disclosed by the Kwahu South District Director of Health Service, Dr Joseph Kwadwo Larbi Opare at a stakeholders meeting on adolescent health, organized by the District Health Management Team at Mpreaso on Wednesday.

The meeting, attended by traditional authorities, departmental heads, representatives of non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), teachers and representatives of religious organizations, was aimed at sensitising the participants to help find solutions to health problems facing the adolescents in the district.

He explained that, the above developments continue to occur because of neglect of the adolescents by the adult population and were not being provided with the necessary information that they needed to be able to take decisions based an informed positions.

Dr Opare said the early exposure to premarital sex often exposes the adolescents to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), including HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, drug abuse, nutritional disorders and illegal abortions some of which results in death.

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According to him, last year, the district treated complications from illegal abortions for two girls between the ages of 10 and 15 years, and 16 girls between the ages of 16 and 20 were also treated for similar problem.

Dr Opare said already this year, two girls between the ages of 10 and 15 years had been treated for post abortal complications, while eight girls between the ages of 16 and 20 years had been treated for the same health complication.

He called on the society to provide the adolescents with the needed information and support to enable them to take good decisions that would help them grow into useful citizens and mothers in future. The District Chief Executive for Kwahu South, Mr. Raymond Osafo-Djan said, most of the adolescents are facing identity problems and had many question that needed to be answered.

He regretted that, most of the adolescents in the district are not interested in acquiring skills but what they would eat immediately. Mr. Osafo-Djan said although the District Assembly mobilised 36 persons for technical training at various technical institutions in the country, only 18 are still in the schools and the rest dropout. He said, at the moment, the government had directed that those who registered for the unemployment programme should go to technical institutions on the Kwahu Ridge for training but when he visited the recommended institutions, nobody had reported as at now.

Mr. Osafo-Djan said, presently the District Assembly is recruiting the youth for training in photography, craft and as tour guides for the Kwahu area.

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He said the government had provided the District Assembly with 250 million cedis to be used in developing youth employment and urged the youth to form themselves into groups to access the facility.

Ms Patience Quarshigah, Deputy Director of Nursing in-charge of Public Health in the Eastern Region observed that, pregnant adolescents needed to receive early anti-natal care so that any dangers could be detected and treated before delivery to protect their womanhood.

The District Youth co-coordinator of the National Youth Council, Mr. Samuel Afari-Agyeri said between November last year, and April this year, his office through the African Youth Alliance (AYA) challenge cup project, was able to distribute 18,000 pieces of male condoms in five communities in the district.

He said through the project, peer educators in the district were able to reach out to 5,778 adolescent males and 4,889 adolescent females with reproductive health messages. June 17, 04

Source: GNA