Tema, Feb 14, GNA - Residents in the 32 electoral areas in the Tema Metropolis have been challenged to own the promotion of adolescent health in their communities.
Mrs Grace Eddy Amewu, Adolescent Focal Person for the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate, speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, said it was about time communities became active stakeholders in the promotion of adolescent health.
Mrs Amewu stated that adolescent health was a unique issue that needed the active collaboration of all stakeholders including the Tema Metropolitan Assembly, Assembly Members, opinion leaders, parents, traditional leaders and all community members.
She noted that the rate at which adolescents from age 10 were indulging in active sexual activities in the Metropolis was alarming.
The Health Directorate, she said, was doing its best to encourage them to abstain or enroll unto a family planning programme through the establishment of adolescent corners and adolescent clubs in the public health facilities and selected schools respectively.
The Adolescent Focal Person however observed that visitations were it was not enough as the number of adolescents visiting the centres were far lower than their huge population in the Metropolis.
She reminded parents that being indifferent towards sexually active adolescents in their communities put their own children at risk as they mingle together at school, churches, mosques, among others.
Mrs Amewu explained that unsuspecting youth could be introduced to sexual activities or sexually molested by these adolescents who do not receive the needed care, love and professional help from the community.
She therefore appealed to Assembly Members, Unit Committee Members and community leaders to make space available in their communities for adolescent service providers to move into the communities and interact with their children.
Such interactions, she noted, would help adolescent health providers to identify their challenges and provide them with the needed counselling and support.
The Focal Person commended the Assembly Member for the Kwesi Plange Electoral Area for collaborating with the Health Directorate to form an Adolescent Boys Community Group in his area.
The group numbering over 60 meet once a month at a centre provided them in the community to receive education from their Adolescent Service Provider on any topic they choose.
They also have a “watsup group” on which they discuss their sexual problems and seek advice from the provider.
Mrs Amewu encouraged other communities to emulate the Kwesi Plange example to help expand adolescent health promotion in the Metropolis and help reduce the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy, contraction of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
A visit by the Ghana News Agency to the adolescent centres at the TMA health centre and the Tema General Hospital revealed that a number of adolescents voluntarily walk into the centres to read and consult the providers on their reproductive health issues.
Miss Clerenda Ibrahim, Adolescent Service Provider at the TMA centre, said she asked members of the community group to choose their own topic, which she treated with them and did one-on-one sessions with those who had peculiar issues.
Miss Ibrahim was however not happy that girls would not want to mingle with boys in the community hence the proposal for a separate meeting day for them.
Miss Christiana Dede Tettey, Adolescent Service Provider at the Tema General Hospital, on her part said most of her clients were girls who attended antenatal or reported to the hospital with abortion related issues and were referred to the centre for counselling and care.
Miss Tettey added that majority fell within the ages of 15 and 19, followed by those aged 20 to 24 and few between 10 and 14 years adding that most of them resided in Ashaiman Municipality and Tema Manhean while others also came from Kpone-Katamanso and Ningo-Prampram Districts.