A total of 518 teenage pregnancy cases were recorded in the Wa West District Health Directorate in the Upper West region in 2019.
The figure is a marginal decrease from the 528 cases recorded in 2018; 537 in 2017 and the 493 cases recorded in 2016.
Madam Asmau Issah, a midwife at the Wa West District Health Directorate, revealed this at a youth forum held at Wechiau over the weekend.
She said 456 cases of teenage pregnancy were recorded in 2015 and 428 cases in 2014 and described the situation as worrying because pregnancies among girls less than 18 years had adverse consequences on the health and wellbeing of the victims.
The forum was organised by the National Youth Authority (NYA) in collaboration with Plan Ghana as part of activities geared towards the implementation of the “Youth Participate and Lead” project being implemented by the NYA in the region.
Traditional authorities, youth groups, students and stakeholders in the district participated in the forum held under the theme: “Creating an enabling environment for effective participation of the youth in decision-making process at all levels”.
“Teenage pregnancy violates the rights of girls, with life-threatening consequences in terms of sexual and reproductive health, and poses high development cost for communities, particularly in perpetuating the cycle of poverty”, Madam Issah explained.
She said teenage pregnancy among others, also deprives the girl of her right to education and called for intensive sexual education for the teenagers to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Madam Issah said the Health Directorate has established Adolescent Corners at Wechiau and Poyentanga to provide family planning services to adolescents and called on teenagers to visit such centres.
Some of the participants appealed to traditional authorities to enact by-laws against activities such as ‘night dance parties’, which were some of the causes of teenage pregnancy.
Mr. Felix Wuurah, the Acting Wa West District Director of the NYA, said the forum was to create a platform for the youth to engage stakeholders on issues affecting their lives.
He said challenges such as teenage pregnancy, child abuse and unemployment, which militated against the development of young people, were multi-faceted and needed the collaboration of all stakeholders.