Teenage pregnancy is endemic in Ghana. The World Health Organisation identifies teenage pregnancy as pregnancy occuring in a girl from age 10-19. Teenage girls are most vulnerable and exposed too all kinds of societal harm and dangers. This is majorly due to their biological features, innocence and underdeveloped mentality as a teen. Teenage pregnancy in Ghana is one major factor in the country which hinders the development and improvement of girl child in terms of education, work and personal development.
Sub Saharan Africa and Teenage Pregnancy!
Most teenage pregnancies in the world are recorded in low middle income countries especially sub saharan Africa. Ghana is a sub sharan Africa country with a high rate of teenage pregnancy. Most of these cases are recorded in the rural areas as compared to the urban towns. The ages of these girls are recorded between 11-19 years. In the year 2019, 518 cases of teenage girl pregnancy was recorded in the Wa West district alone as compared to 528 cases which was recorded 2018, showing a decrease of only 2 percent . Therefore not much has been done to curb the situation and things might get worst from time to come.
Also, the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey indicates that, teenage pregancy is common among the rural community and high in regions like Brong Ahafo, Central region and Volta region.
Education in the rural areas to curb teenage pregnancy has been ongoing that targets the teenage girls, parents and men in the society since they all are responsible for the situation.
It’s been observed that, factors which result to the situation are socio-cultural, religious, ignorance and Health service accessibility.
In Ghana, some of the socio cultural factors that influence teenage pregancy is child marriage, peer group influence, broken homes, poverty and family structure. As it has been said earlier, these pregnancies are common in the rural areas because some of their cultures still run deep in their community. An example of these is the child marriage. In the rural areas, child marriage is seen as a normal tradition whereby a girl child is given out for marriage soon as she reaches the puberty state. This is due to lack of education and development among the people. Broken homes is also a major factor when less attention is given to the girl child when the mother and father are nomore. Peer group pressure is when the girl child sees most of his teenage friends getting familiar in relationship with men and they also try to follow same trend which one way or the other, can lead to pregnancy.
Furthermore, religious factors aslo have same implications on teenage girls, whereby some religion approve sex before marriage. In a research made, girls whose religion approved sex before marriage mostly found themselves caught up in teenage pregnancy. Other religions such as the Islam and traditional religion approve girl child marriage. The trokosi system whereby a virgin girl child is exchanged for the sins of a family member to appease the gods all generated factors for such situation which should be abolished by all means.
Low Educational Background
Low educational background in parents is also a factor. They tend not to give much attention to these situations and neglect their children to such dangers, same as low eduction in the teenage girls. Family members or parents who are not strict or are likely not to react negatively to teenage pregancy also breeds room for teenagers to get pregnant. Some parent and family members even encourage their girls into this situations.
Moreover, teenage pregnancy has a negative impact on the adolescent in terms of their well being. It greatly affect their education which they likely drop out of school. They tend to feel higly depressed and be in experience of despair, low self esteem and a sense of been a failure. These teenage girls also get to be stigmatized of been single mothers in societies which people have negative impression about which greatly affects them psychologically.
Again, what needs to be done to curb or reduce teenage pregancy in Ghana is intensive education to young girls about the Implications of them been pregnant. Also, to educate parents and more of these education should be for parents from rural areas to put in place careful measures for their girl child, educate them on the implications of them getting pregnant. The use of contraceptives and other pregancy prevention measures should be available and affordable in all areas of the country which education on how to use should be thoroughly thought. Cultural and religious factors that encourage child marriage and all factors that bring about teenage pregancy should be frowned upon and measures to stop them should be greatly taken.
The government should also put in place measures to make health care and services available in rural communities which can provide and prevent these situations available by any means.
By: Nii Okai Tagoe