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Regional News Wed, 14 Jan 2004

Government urged to establish youth counselling centres

Wa, Jan. 14, GNA - Mr. Mark Abugnaba, Deputy Upper West Regional Population Officer on Tuesday urged the government to establish regional, district and community youth counselling centres throughout the country to educate the youth on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and other useful programmes that would mould them into responsible adults. Mr. Abugnaba who made the suggestion in an address at a day's workshop organised for members of the Regional Population Advisory Committee on: "Adolescent Sexual and Re-productive Health in Ghana," also called for the provision of youth friendly family planning services and centres that would promote sexual abstinence among the youth. He urged parents, teachers, social and health workers and other partners to collaborate their efforts to help reduce promiscuity among the youth.

Mr. Abugnaba said available statistics showed that sexual intercourse among adolescents had reduced from 59 percent in 1993 to 45 percent in 1998 and expressed the hope that it would further reduce in the next statistics due to the high level of education programmes on the need to abstain from sex as the best way to avoid HIV/AIDS. He expressed regret, however, that many young girls were having sexual relationships with elderly men popularly referred to as "Sugar Daddies."

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A survey he said indicated that 84 percent of the girls who were engaged in such relationships said favours, gifts and money accounted for their rush for the "Sugar Daddies." Mr. Kwadwo Yeboah, Regional Population Officer, who presented a paper on the implementation of the "Adolescent Reproductive Health Policy", said 14 lawyers and 200 law students had so far been trained in adolescent sexual reproductive health issues and advocacy.

Source: GNA
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