'Youth For Youth', an adolescent reproductive health magazine aimed at building resilience against premarital sex and teenage pregnancy, has been launched in Accra.
The magazine, which is designed and filled with materials produced by students from selected senior high schools including Labone Senior High and Holy Trinity Cathedral Senior High schools hopes to address adolescent-related sexual issues under a project, funded by Switzerland's National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South.
The project aims at giving the youth a voice by empowering them to express their sexual and reproductive health realities through writing and discussions of adolescent sexual and reproductive health topics, a participatory method which will bring both education and entertainment (edutainment) to adolescents within the catchments area of the project.
Dr. Collins Stephen Ahulu, a Senior Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and Managing Editor of the magazine explained the project was initiated after a previous research conducted in Ghana and Tanzania indicated that Ghanaian adolescents were less knowledgeable about sexual and reproductive health issues as compared to their Tanzanian counterparts.
This they realized was as a result of the existence of a youth publication that creates awareness and discusses sexual issues in Tanzania.
Dr. Ahulu further stated that, Ghana had one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world quoting a 1999 report which showed that by age 18, 44 percent of girls and 26 percent of boys have had sex with about 12 percent of all women below age 19 are either pregnant or are already mothers.
He revealed “about 15.6 percent of girls aged 15 – 19 were either pregnant or already mothers.” This he said, “calls for a better understanding about what sexuality, gender, family and having children means to adolescents, not only for academic purposes but to guide the actions of young women and men towards adulthood and by extension, parenthood.”
Rejoice Nutakor, an Adolescent Heath Consultant, cautioned students in Junior and Senior High Schools about the dangers of succumbing to their sexual urges.
Dr. Ahulu also encouraged students to get involved by writing articles and sharing their experiences so that others could learn from them.