A teenager is said to be someone between the ages of 13 to 19. Teenage Pregnancy refers to female adolescents who get pregnant between the ages of 13 to 19. In this modern era that we find ourselves, specifically in Ghana and other countries, teenagers are supposed to be in school, because these young females have not yet reached adulthood, and are not matured physically, psychologically, and have a low level of intelligence as well. But what do we see in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem (KEEA) Municipality?
Teenage Pregnancy has become a hectic problem that the municipal assembly is battling with. Available statistics rank the central region as having the highest prevalence rate, with the KEEA Municipality as one of the municipals with the highest incidence of teenage pregnancy. According to Dr.John Evans Otoo, the Acting Municipality Health Director in the year 2017, disclosed that teenage pregnancy is disturbing high in the municipality.
According to him, out of 2118 deliveries recorded in the area in the year 2017, 17.5% were teenagers below age 14. ”Adolescents are alarmingly sexually active in the municipality with some of them saying that their first sex was at age 8 instead of 11 and 12 in some municipality”, disclosed by a consultant at Alliance for Reproductive Health Right (ARHR), Mr. Patrick Apoya, in his presentation.
One of the causes of teenage pregnancy is poverty. The high level of poverty in the KEEA Municipality, as a result of lack of job avenues, aside from farming and fishing being their main occupation devoid some parents of providing the children especially the teenagers with their needs. This drives teenagers to engage into sexual relationships with some of the adults; men who exhibit irresponsible adult behaviour by having sex with these teenagers in exchange of favours like food, money, clothing and at times shelter which their parents cannot provide. Some of these men turn to be owners of canoes, so they have sex with these girls in order for these girls to get fish from them to sell.
Another cause of teenage pregnancy is poor parental control and guidance. It always saddens my heart whenever I think about how young girls in the KEEA municipality live their lives. At times I ask myself questions whenever I come across these girls that do they have parents? Are these girls born into families? And do they have elder people in the communities they find themselves? All these questions are answered by the fact that some of these girls lack parental control and guidance.
Lots of parents turn to be busy with their fishing and farming activities which serve to be the main occupation of the municipality, and as a means to earn income for a living. As a result of this, these parents leave early to the seashore and return home late which give these teenagers the privilege and freedom to do whatever they like. At times, parents of these teenagers don’t even know where their children sleep, to talk of knowing whether they go to school or not.
Peer influence contributes towards the rise in teenage pregnancy in the KEEA municipal assembly. During the ages of 12-19 years, young girls have influence in one another’s decision making. Teenagers who find themselves in their peer group, have their decisions being influenced by friends who have experience in sexual relationships, and move further to educate them on the benefits and opportunities that come their way when they involve in these sexual relationships.
Though teenage pregnancy contributes to the high fertility rate in Ghana, and the KEEA municipality, it also leads to many complications of which are listed below:
· Several reproductive health complications among teenage mothers and their children. Some of these complications may be unsafe abortion, low birth weight and premature birth, and possible greater risks of cephalopelvic disproportion (the baby’s head is wider than the pelvic opening of the mother) which can lead to death.
· These teenage mothers feel ashamed and turn to keep to themselves, and this leads to depression.
· Lack of career life because some of them stop schooling when they become pregnant and at times do not go back to school.
· Leads to increase in social vices like prostitution, armed robbery, and some becoming drug addicts.
· This also leads to early marriage in the teenage girls who at times end up marrying men old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers
· Teenage girls and boys as well, need to have an understanding of Abstinence and Contraceptive techniques as being the best way to avoid teenage pregnancy
· Parents should have time for their children especially teenage girls. They have to know where their children sleep, the time these teenagers sleep and activities they engage themselves in.
· Adults especially men in the municipal assembly should avoid having sex in exchange to offer help to these teenagers whenever they call for their aid.
·Elders and municipal members should be organizing programs on sex education for teenagers in the municipality.
· Philanthropist in the KEEA municipal assembly should come to the aid of teenage girls who need support.
Dr. Kingsley Pereko
Dr. Benedicta H. Abdullai Taylor
Mrs. Emilia Latiff
Nana Kojo Condua Vi
Ahinoam Sekyiwa Taylor
Physician Assistant Student
University Of Cape Coast
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