Stakeholders have been urged to work together to significantly reduce the high adolescent pregnancy rate in the fishing community of Tema Manhean.
Statistics from the Tema Health Directorate indicate that the densely populated area has a high record of adolescent pregnancy despite efforts by adolescent health providers to drastically reduce it.
A total of 177 teenage pregnancies had been recorded from the area at the Tema Manhean Clinic for antenatal for the first three-quarters of 2019.
Making the appeal during a review meeting of adolescent health friendly providers in the Tema Metropolis, care givers at the Tema Manhean adolescent corner revealed that without a consented effort from all stakeholders it would be difficult to achieve the required results.
They observed that the causes for the high teenage pregnancy in the area could be grouped under four thematic areas: community, individual, religious and health provision.
Under the community factors, they indicated that lack of parental care, early marriage, poverty and single parenting was prevalent in the area explaining that adolescents who passed teenage-hood without giving birth were branded barren while those who were poor engaged in transactional sex to care for themselves.
They revealed that there were a lot of brothels in Tema Newtown where adolescents engaged in child prostitution and solicit for clients and curb crawlers and appealed to the Ghana Police Service and the Tema Traditional Council (TTC) to clear the area of such activities.
They also stated that there was lack of sex education from parents making most of the adolescents fall for peer pressure as their friends lure them into it with the excuse that they would not function well when they abstain.
According to them, activities such as school parties provided a fertile ground for sexual engagements as they mentioned for instance that “a recent one dubbed, ‘drop that uniform bash’ had twerking, free shisha, and light off sessions”.
Under the religious factors, the health providers observe that churches in the area which numbered about 7,000 saw it as a taboo to educate the youth on sex as they believed that teaching them about it would pushed them into practicing it.
They therefore appealed to the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate to liaise with stakeholders, especially religious leaders, the traditional council, schools and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly to help formulate a sustainable solution to the high teenage pregnancy rate in the area.