The Upper East Region recorded a total of 5,587 adolescent pregnancies representing 15.4% for the year 2016, with 2.1%occurring among adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 years, making the region, the highest in teenage pregnancy.
According to a Ghana Health Service report on Antenatal care registrants for 2016, 115 pregnancy cases were recorded among teenagers between the ages of 10-14, whilst 5,474 cases occurred among adolescents between 14-19 years.
This is an increase from 5,518 and 5,564 adolescent pregnancy cases recorded in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The Volta Region recorded the second highest of 10,296 pregnancies representing 15.0%, whiles the Brong Ahafo and Eastern regions recorded 14% respectively.
Central, Upper West and Western Regions recorded 13% respectively, Northern and Ashanti regions had 11% respectively with Greater Accra region recording the lowest adolescent pregnancy rate of 6%
In the Upper East Region, the Nabdam district recorded the highest teenage pregnancy rate of 21.1%, while Bawku municipal recorded the lowest rate of 11.5%
This was disclosed at the 2016 annual performance review meeting held in Bolgatanga on the theme: “Harnessing human resources for effective leadership and service delivery with focus on New born care and sub-district health systems”
Upper East Regional director of health services, Dr. Kofi Issah, said even though the pregnancy rate is not significant in terms of coverage, concerted efforts will be taken this year(2017), to investigate the reasons accounting for the rising teenage pregnancies in the region.
Dr. Issah attributed the high pregnancy rates to lack of family planning education in Basic and Second cycle institutions, early marriage and other socio-cultural factors.
“If you ask the Ghana Education Service to allow the Regional health directorate move into the schools with contraception, they won’t agree, but these female students need these contraceptives because the tendency of them engaging in sex is very high. Teenage pregnancy is a big issue in this region. In recent times, females, aged 10 to 14, start their menstruation due to improved nutrition which hitherto wasn’t the case. But when you start targeting the issue with family planning messages at that stage, you will have problems with the various religious bodies and even our norms” he said.
Economic empowerment of parents to cater for the girl child in some areas of the region is also a contributory factor leading to early marriages and teenage pregnancy, he added.
Dr. Issah appealed to all and sundry especially key stakeholders to develop and effectively implement policies and programmes at reducing drastically the menace of teenage pregnancy.
By: Frederick Awuni/citifmonline.com/Ghana