Increasing birth rate among adolescents alarming
The Department of Gender has described as a tragedy the high adolescent birth rate in the Volta Region, saying “the trend is taking serious toll on the human resource of the area.”
“An adolescent birth rate of 103 per 1000 which is far above the national average of 75 is, indeed, a great cause for worry for the country,” Madam Lena Alai, Volta Regional Director of Gender, has said.
Speaking at the opening of a four-day mentorship camp at Ho for 100 girls and 20 boys selected from the Central Tongu, Afadzato South, North Dayi and South Dayi districts last Thursday, she said that an immediate action was required to curb the trend.
Madam Alai said that apart from the adolescent birth rate, the large number of reported cases of sexual abuse in the region was also undermining efforts to attain the fifth Sustainable Development Goal which focused on gender equity, with emphasis on the participation of women in politics.
In 2018, for instance, a total of 511 of such cases, including 93 defilement and 17 rape cases were recorded in the region, in addition to many other cases of assault against young women being investigated by the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), the Regional Director revealed.
She further disclosed that in 2017, a total of 664 of such cases, including 152 defilement and seven rape cases were reported in the region.
Madam Alai pointed out that early sexual relations and marriages among adolescents gave rise to gender-based violence and abuse because they were not mentally developed to face the challenges of marriage.
“They also lack the skills to negotiate for safe sex for which reason they often become victims of unsafe relationship or marriage with its consequences of unplanned birth and other health challenges,” she said.
The Volta Regional Director of Education, Madam Enyonam Afi Amafuga also told the participants that the adolescent stage was a critical period to learn everything as they had the capacity to explore the world around them.
She, therefore, urged the participants to make good use of their youthfulness by studying hard towards a bright future, not to engage in vices which would destroy their future.
“May you find your way into adulthood with little or no regrets because you made the right choices as an adolescent boy or girl,” Madam Amafuga added.
The participants were taken through Adolescent Reproductive Health, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at Schools and in the Community; and Healthy and Responsible Adolescent among other topics.
Pix: 1. Volta Regional Director of Gender – Madam Lena Alai
2. The camp participants