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Upper East: 268 pregnancies, 105 marriages recorded among school girls in nine months

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About 220 Junior High School girls and 48 Senior High School girls have been confirmed pregnant in eight districts of the Upper East Region, provisional figures from the Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service has revealed.
This occurred between January to September, 2020 and the districts are Kassena-Nankana Municipal, Kassena-Nankana West, Talensi, Nabdam, Pusiga, Garu and Tempane Districts with Talensi having the highest of 75 pregnancies and 83 marriages.
Mrs Rose Akanson, the Regional Girls Education Officer of the National Population Council (NPC) made this known while addressing stakeholders at a forum on the impact of COVID-19 on teenage pregnancy, organized by the Regional Directorate of the NPC.
She said about 105 marriages were recorded among JHS girls within the same period.
Mrs Akanson said between January and August, the eight districts recorded 131 pregnancies and 97 marriages among JHS pupils while 34 pregnancies were recorded among Senior High School students.
According to her 30 nursing mothers took part in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) while 26 others sat for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) within the eight districts.
She said it was a worrisome situation in that in 2019, 154 girls were absent from the BECE.
The Regional Girls Education Officer said the impact of the novel coronavirus disease and its related restrictions was a situation that needed to be assessed critically by all stakeholders.
She attributed some of the pregnancies to poverty, some “COVID-19 restrictions”, and parental irresponsibility, “although the preliminary findings revealed that as young as 12 year old girls had become pregnant, most of the girls who have always been pregnant over the years was partly due to late enrollment, you have a girl who is 19 years and she is in JHS one and in the Talensi District most of the pregnancies and marriages were recorded in the upper primary”.
Mr Gilbert Agulu, a Senior Nursing Officer, Reproductive and Child Health Unit, Regional Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Services, said high teenage pregnancies was the biggest challenge in the region.
Giving statistics to buttress the assessment, he said, the region recorded 15.5 per cent, 16 per cent and 15.05 per cent teenage pregnancies in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively, with the Nabdam District having the highest of 23.1 per cent and the least being Bawku Municipal with 10.2 per cent within the period of January to September, 2020.
He said about 27 maternal deaths had been recorded, with two within the ages of 15 to 19, four within the ages of 20-24 and 18 within the ages of 25-39.
The phenomenon brought together stakeholders drawn from various groupings including, religious groups, Department of Gender, GHS, GES, traditional authorities, youth focused organizations, the media among others with a call for a holistic approach to tackling the menace.
Mr Alosiba Akare Azam, the Regional Population Officer, said the issue of teenage pregnancy increased the population without corresponding measures to cater for the needs of the people, thereby placing a huge burden on the economy and derailing the government’s efforts at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
A Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Committee was therefore formed to help curb the phenomenon.
SourceGNA

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