Regional News of Tue, 6 Jan 20040

Girls need to know menstrual cycle

Accra, Jan. 6, GNA - Ms Ellen Rockson, Greater Accra Regional Population Officer, on Tuesday expressed concern about the low level of knowledge of adolescent girls on the safe period in their menstrual cycle.

She said it was estimated that about 32 per cent of adolescent females, who are under 20 years, became pregnant unknowingly and gave birth to unwanted babies.

Ms Rockson made the observation in Accra at a day's workshop organized for Media Practitioners to sensitise them about factors responsible for teenage pregnancies and effects on national development.

The workshop was organized by the National Population Council, in collaboration with the United Nation's Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) under the Government of Ghana/UNFPA Fourth Country Programme. Ms Rockson noted the risks of teenage pregnancy, its socio-economic and health implications on the adolescent and their inability to pursue educational and employment opportunities.

She said the most worrying side of the problems among adolescents was the high and growing prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

"In spite of all the sensitisation programmes taking place in all the regions of the country, adolescents have not changed their sexual behaviour because they still did not realize that their activities put them at risk of contracting the virus", Ms Rockson said.

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She called on policy and decision makers; traditional authorities; community and religious leaders, as well as family planning service providers to make the provision of high quality reproductive health information a high priority.

Mr Stephen Kwankye, Associate Project Director of the Population Impact Project (PIP), Legon, said there was the need to advocate on issues of Reproductive Health Rights, Youth counselling Centres, Youth Friendly Family Planning Services, Promotion of Sexual Abstinence and Family Planning among sexually active adolescents.

He said the searchlight should be on abstinence rather than on the use of condoms in educating adolescents.

A Senior Research Officer of PIP, Mr Eric Adjei Boadu said the population of the Greater Accra Region was growing at an alarming rate of 4.4 per cent.

He called for the adoption of effective measures to reduce the national annual high population growth rate of 2.7 to avoid a rapid population growth to lessen the pressure on development resources.

Mr James Amuah, a Deputy Director of the Information Services Department, called for an effective collaboration between national agencies engaged in educating the adolescents on health and reproductive issues.

Source: GNA

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