World Population Day 2022: NPC calls for national campaign to avert teenage pregnancies, child marriages

Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah has underscored the need for Ghana to embark on a national campaign to deal with the rising canker of teenage pregnancies, child marriages and unplanned pregnancies that characterized the country, serving as a barrier to its capital development.

According to her, Ghana stands the chance to benefit enormously across all of its sectors if concerted effort is adopted by all and sundry to decisively address the menace which would go a long way to improve our health and efficiently advance the quality of human capital sustainably towards the attainment of Ghana beyond aid.

She made this known at an event to commemorate this year’s World Population Day on the theme: Prioritizing rights and choices: Harnessing of opportunities; the road to a resilient future for all”.

The event which brought together representatives of various civil society organizations, government appointees, members of parliament, staff of the National Population Council, reps of UN Agencies including the academia was staged at the GNAT Conference Hall in Accra on Friday July 15, 2022.

It was organized through the partnership of the National Population Council (NPC), the UNFPA Ghana, the Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS) with funding support from the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), and the Ghana Oil Company (GOIL).

The World Population Day is a day set aside by the United Nations to assess the health of our population and to address barriers to optimal individual and population health as a contribution in building a resilient nation.

Teenage pregnancy and child marriage are momentous issues which carry far greater risks for parents and children, are common. 14% of those aged 15 to 19 have their own and around 16 million adolescents give birth each year.

According to the Ghana Health Service, over hundred and ten thousand teenage pregnancies are recorded annually.

In her welcome address, Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah disclosed that the cost of adolescent childbearing or in otherwise, children having children negatively impact the society as a whole

”The adolescent passes the cost of taking care of themselves and their babies to taxpayers.

The cost to taxpayers does not mean cost during pregnancy or for infants but through to about 15 years and if you are not lucky, she’ll decide to burden taxpayers with another baby and other associated costs”, she explained.

While highlighting the benefits of a controlled population to all sectors of the Ghanaian economy, she said: “For the health sector, it will reduce mortality and morbidities thus improve health outcomes at a reduced cost and inadvertently contribute to savings in families and our NHIS”.

“To our midwives, obstetricians, gynecologists and pediatricians, the benefits are instant: reduce workloads and quality care for those who need the care”

Referring to the economy, she said: “it will reduce the GDP per capita and thus increase the GDP per capita to increase the quality of life of citizens”.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Director of Regional Institute for Population Studies, Prof. Ayaga Bawah, emphasized the need for young people to be provided with the appropriate sexual and reproductive health information and services without any socio-cultural and institutional barriers while according them the enabling environment for them to make informed choices.

Mad. Charlotte Morgan Asiedu, Director, Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PPME), office of the Presidency in her remark stressed the need for education on responsible parenting to be introduced and the act, enforced to ensure young people are deterred them from indulging in early sexual activities.

“Let us start preaching the message to the teens. My best bet if you ask me; abstinence is the first rule. Don’t go and do it if you are not ready to have children. So we should teach our teenagers to finish school and focus until it’s time for them to bear children”.

Also adding his voice to calls, Country Rep. of UNFPA Ghana, Mr. Barnabas Yisa in his address averred that it would only be possible for Ghana to attain sustainable national development if it ensures that the reproductive rights and choices of the individuals are respected.

“People should be given a wide range of family planning information and services for them to be able to make informed choices”.

While applauding the government for including family planning in the midst of health services under the national health insurance scheme, he called on the NHIA leadership to do everything humanly possible to ensure its continuity and expansion to achieve the objective of family planning in reducing maternal morbidity and infant mortality among others.

Source: Joseph Wemakor

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