Research conducted by the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament with funding support from Plan International revealed that 83% of adolescent girls sleep with men for monies to buy their basic needs including sanitary pads.
The study was on the topic; "Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region: A synthesis of Research Evidence."
In presenting the research report to the media at a press briefing in Wa, the speaker of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliamentary, Rt. Hon. James Baba Anabiga indicated,
‘‘the study was necessitated because, in the Wa East District, data revealed that early and unprotected sexual practices by adolescents is a common trend that exposes them to many reproductive health challenges including unplanned teenage pregnancies, school dropouts, unsafe abortion, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS. Again, there have been many teenage pregnancies reported in 2020 in the Wa East District (GNA, 2021)’’.
The speaker of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament Rt. Hon. James Baba Anabiga explained that the study was centered on eight objectives including examining parents’ responsibilities, adolescent girls' sexual behaviour, District Assembly and the Office of the MP's commitment to funding and supporting adolescent sexual and reproductive health programmes and activities.
Rt. Hon. James Baba Anabiga also revealed that 97% of parents are aware of their responsibilities to adolescents. However, 57% of parents do not provide basic needs for the adolescent girl child. He further added that 83% of respondents constituting the majority indicated that adolescent girls engage in sexual relationships to get money for sanitary pads.
Other major causes include poverty (40%); ignorance (29%) constitutes irresponsible parenting (17%) are the major reasons affecting adolescent sexual reproductive health in the Wa East District.
On effects of unsafe sexual relationships, the study revealed that the implications of unsafe sex among adolescent girls were teenage pregnancy (41%), child marriage (34%) and school drop-out (8%). The office of the MP and District Assembly was cited for not providing funding and supporting adolescent sexual and reproductive health programmes/activities.
According to Rt. Hon. James Baba Anabiga, the study recommend DA and Office of the MP should allocate the share of the common fund to finance adolescent sexual and reproductive health programmes/ activities.
The study further calls for a free sanitary pad distribution policy and intensify advocacy to help address the issue of adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the Wa East District.
Rt. Hon. James Baba Anabiga also hinted that the study recommended additional funding to the youth parliament to conduct a needs assessment of vulnerable adolescent girls in the Wa East District.
The chairman of the parliamentary sub-committee on research and proposal writing Hon. Tahiru Lukman throwing light on the methodology explained that it was a qualitative technique using a descriptive study design. The multi-stage sampling was used to obtain the list of communities with high issues of adolescent-related challenges such as teenage pregnancies, school dropout and child marriage.
He noted that the communities were classified under the two area councils (Bulenga and Funsi) and the quota sampling was used to set the target samples while the convenient sampling was used to identify the respondents. He indicated that 150 adolescent girls were sampled with another 150 parents, guardians and relations were also sampled. Again, he noted seven key informants were purposively sampled. He concluded by saying questionnaires and key informant guides were used to gather field data for analysis.
In attendance for the press conference has a cross-section of the media in the Upper West Region, the Majority and Minority leader of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament, the Women Caucus, and some members of both Majority and minority caucuses of the Youth Parliament.