By Yaw Ansah/ Dennis Osei Gyamfi, GNA
Accra, June 29, GNA – A research conducted by Akotoshie Children’s Club of the Ga West Municipal has recommended that sex education is key to reducing teenage pregnancies and increasing awareness of the consequences of sex.
The report titled, “Child Led Research Report on Prevalence and the Effect of Teenage Pregnancy on the Education of Girls in Akotoshie,” also recommended that perpetrators of teenage pregnancy must be prosecuted.
Funded by the World Vision International Ghana (WVG), a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation, dedicated to the well-being of children, the study urged parents to discipline their children and also support the intensification of sex education at both school and community levels.
Mr Baba Mahama, Board Chair of WVG out-doored the Research Report in Accra on Friday at the first anniversary celebration of “End Child Marriage Now: It takes Us All”, a campaign by the WVG.
He said the study was part of the campaign launched a year ago aimed at reducing by 50 per cent the prevalence of child marriages in Ghana.
Mr Mahama commended the children and advised them to avoid watching pornographic materials and protect themselves from unsafe sex by adopting family planning measures, including the use of condoms if they engaged in early sex as recommended by the study.
He said the nature of violence against children needed the effort of all and sundry to address.
Miss Abigail Edeh, leader of the Research Team, who presented the report, explained that the study, which covered three communities namely Medie, Kotoku and Akotoshie in the Ga West Municipality identified poverty, broken homes, lack of parental care, curiosity and single parenting as the major causes of teenage pregnancies.
She said the study interviewed 100 respondents and out of the total 63 per cent of the teenage pregnancy victims were in school while 37 per cent were out of school.
The study found out that 66 per cent of teenage pregnancy in the communities was done by adults while 34 per cent was by colleague students in the community.
Giving a highlight on the effects of teenage pregnancy, Miss Edeh noted that it resulted in children been infected with sexually transmitted diseases, early parenthood, death and damage of pelvic bones during delivery.
Mr Dickens Thunde, National Director of WVG, said the organisation together with its partners had reached over five million people with campaign messages through radio, theatre, community conversations and engagements in more than 15 districts in the Northern Region.
“Within this period four young girls aged between 13 and 14 have been rescued from marriage in World Vision operational areas,” he said.
During the year, Mr Thunde, said WVG facilitated a National Faith Leaders Forum, which brought together over 80 faith leaders to chart a common pathway to end child marriage and solicit support from the faith community for the campaign.
A total of 413 faith leaders and their spouses, he said had been trained at the district level in the country to use the knowledge and skills acquired to educate their congregations and community members to end violence against children and child marriage.
He said 19 districts Child Protection Committees had been formed and strengthened, and 95 community child protection committees had been formed and trained to ensure communities were safe as well as strengthen community reporting and referral mechanisms.
Mr Thunde disclosed that some 45,000 vulnerable children had been registered and had received birth certificates.
Touching on the campaigns objective to build the resilience and life skills of children to provide them a voice as agents of change to child marriage he said, 23 Child Parliaments were leading advocacy and campaign in World Vision operational areas to end child marriage.
The National Director stated that to improve policy implementation and legislative enforcement by government by 2021, WVG together with its partners were advocating for review of legal age of consent from 16 years to 18 years same as the legal age of marriage.