16.10.2004 Education

Teenage pregnancy highest among women with low education - GDHS

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Tamale, Oct. 16, GNA - The Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) has indicated that teenage pregnancy was highest among girls with less education.

The survey showed that 19.1 per cent of teenage girls, who are not highly educated, easily get pregnant as against three per cent of those who have secondary or higher education.

Dr Grace Bediako, the government statistician in a speech read on her behalf said this at a one-day dissemination seminar organised by the GDHS at Tamale on Thursday to appraise medical practitioners on the results of the survey and details concerning the differential health status of people in the various regions of the country. Participants at the seminar included medical personnel from the Northern, Upper East and West regions.

Elaborating further, Dr Bediako said, women's attendance to antenatal health care services was highest among those educated, representing 53.4 per cent and lowest with those without education representing 11.4 per cent of women who come attend antenatal services.

Dr. Bediako said the survey indicated that the prevalence of the HIV/AIDS was more prevalent among women than men, with 2.7 per cent of women between the ages of 15-49 years found to be HIV positive.

Dr Bediako expressed concern about the high infants' mortality rate under five years, saying, "One in every nine children dies before reaching age five; nearly three deaths out of five occur in the first year of the live of infants.

She said the death of children under the age of one year remain at "Unacceptably high levels, even though it declined from 77 to 64 per 1,000 between 1988 and 2003, it appears to have increased somewhat from 57 in 1998".

She said both infant and under five mortality rates were higher in the Upper West Region.

Mr Charles Bintim, Deputy Northern Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf by the Special Assistant, Mr Thomas Weijong expressed appreciation about the declining rate of infant mortality, saying that "From a rate of over 130 per 1,000 live births at the time of independence, this rate has declined to about 58 per 1000 live births.

He said evidence from the current GDHS indicates that the achievements made at reducing infant mortality over the past years may have recorded serious reverses and urged the health authorities to take a critical look at remedying the situation.

He said improvements in "Mortality statistics depend not only on health care but on life choices as well as the wide socio-economic environment, sanitation and poverty".

Mr Bintim said for instance, reported cases of measles had declined from 82,684 in 1980 to 1,158 cases in 2003, pertussis cases dropped from 13,216 in 1980 to 326 cases in 2003, while only 37 cases of neonatal tetanus were reported in 2003 as compared with 216 cases in 1994. Mr Bintim expressed optimism that the National Health Insurance Scheme would help remove economic barriers to the provision of health care delivery to the people but added that" The highest barrier is socio-cultural, ignorance about causes of diseases, superstition, and poor attitude to use of proven cost-effective interventions and stigmatization among others.

He commended the GDHS for conducting the surveys and said their reports were of immense assistance to the government in the planning of its policies and strategies for the provision of essential health services for the people.

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