The Central Regional Office of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service has tasked stakeholders to ensure that social intervention programmes targeted at addressing teenage pregnancy focus on the key factors.
It said parental control and guidance were key to addressing the issue and so parents, especially single mothers, must be empowered economically to enable them to take adequate care of their children.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) George Appiah-Sakyi, the Regional Co-ordinator of DOVVSU, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Cape Coast.
He expressed concern over the upsurge of teenage pregnancy cases in the region and said the problem was routed in a vicious cycle of poverty, broken homes and low patronage of family planning products.
He said reduction in poverty was key to preventing the menace adding “we are equally concerned and worried about the upsurge of teenage pregnancy because of the health issues associated with it.”
"Majority of these cases too may eventually end up at our door steps either for child neglect, abuse or assault for investigation, so we have to be concerned,” he said.
DSP Appiah-Sakyi said when the children were properly taken care of, the chances of being lured by men to have sex with them under the pretext of giving them money, food and other items would be reduced.
“We must be able to position parents, especially single mothers, to properly take care of their children. Economic empowerment of women must be taken seriously”.
He suggested that preference be must be given to single mothers in the Livelihood Empowerment Against poverty (LEAP) programmes which was designed to help the needy and vulnerable in households to achieve social integration.
DSP Appiah-Sakyi said stakeholders should be able to effectively employ behavioural change communication strategies to demystify the erroneous perception that encouraged young girls to give birth early.
He advised young women to embrace family planning services to reduce maternal deaths, infant mortality, unwanted pregnancies and abortion.
The Central Region recorded 12,048 teenage pregnancy cases in 2016 as against 13,355 in 2015 and has seen a decline in the last five years but stakeholders still consider the figures as unacceptable.
The region has consistently been named among the top three regions with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country.
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