Gender Department scales up efforts to address teenage pregnancy in Elmina

By Isaac Asirifi, GNA

Elmina (C/R), Sept. 21, GNA – The Central
Regional Department of Gender on Wednesday organised a community documentary
road show in Elmina to educate guardians, parents and community members on the
implications of adolescent pregnancy and Sexual and Gender Based Violence

It was organised in collaboration with the
Central Regional Coordinating Council (CRCC) and funded by the United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA) – UNICEF’s joint Adolescent Girls Programme.

Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, Regional Director of
the Department of Gender, said SGBV and adolescent pregnancy were serious
social issues impeding the health, education, social and economic development
of both adolescent girls and their families.

She said although there has been a gradual
decline in adolescent pregnancy from 14.8 percent in 2014 and 2015 to 13.2
percent in 2018, more young girls continue to get pregnant in the Region.

She said women and girls were confronted
with issues of SGBV in the region, worrying among them were defilement, rape,
sexual harassment, assault, abduction and non-maintenance.

Mrs Kpe said there is the need to scale up
efforts to address such problems in order to safeguard the future and rights of
women and girls as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goal Five (SDG 5)
was to which empower all women and girls by 2030.

She said the Department has adopted the
evening community road shows as a way of engendering behavioural change among
parents and adolescents to help reduce the prevalence of SGBV and teenage
pregnancies in their communities.

D/CPL Richard Boadi-Twum, an official from
the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police
Service in Cape Coast, took participants through child marriage, sexual
offenses and their related punishments.

He said a person who engages in domestic
violence committed an offence that could attract not less than 25 years
imprisonment under DOVVSU Act.

He said the continuous increase in the cases
of child abuse, defilement and non-maintenance as well as rape in the Region
was disturbing.

“Unemployment should not be an excuse to
shirk one’s parental responsibility, failure to properly cater for children
jeopardizes their future, once you have given birth, you need to take care of
that child” he said.

He expressed the commitment of DOVVSU to
partner the various agencies to educate the public on the effects of SGBV and
called on the parents and guardians to play their respective roles.

Mr Frederick Nartey, Assistant Registrar of
the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) at
Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA), urged parents to discuss sex-related issues
with their children especially, girls before puberty.

He said irresponsible parenting was a major
contributory factor that led teenagers to engage in pre-marital relationships
which often led to pregnancies.

“Parents must, therefore, take full
responsibility in the upbringing of their children”, he said.