Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, has called for a 10-year plan to guide efforts towards total elimination of teenage pregnancy in Ghana.
Nana Oye Lithur described as unacceptable the high teenage pregnancy rate in the country, noting it disrupts efforts to achieve meaningful and sustainable development.
The Minister’s comments Tuesday were in response to the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey which reveals 14% of adolescent women aged between 15 and 19 years are mothers or pregnant with their first child.
Many of these teenage girls, according to the report, drop out of school, engage in unsafe abortions and are exposed to Sexually Transmitted Infections.
The Upper East Region had the highest national prevalence rate of teenage pregnancy of 15%.
Other regions recording figures equal to or above the national figure of 14% are Volta, Brong Ahafo, Central and Eastern regions.
The Northern Region recorded the lowest prevalence rate of 4.4 per cent.
The report also indicates that births by approximately 16 million adolescent girls in Ghana aged between 15 and 19 years constitutes about 11% of all births worldwide.
Details of the proposed strategic plan are sketchy, however, the Minister said government wants to roll out a strategic plan that will reduce teenage pregnancy to acceptable levels.The 10-year plan, according the Minister, would be multi-sectorial.
“The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Gender and other relevant stakeholders, we all need to come together harness our resources to reduce teenage pregnancy,” she said on Newsnite on Joy FM Tuesday.
The figures in the Ghana Demographic and Health Surve , Nana Oye Lithur notes, show that there is a prevalence of unprotected sex among teenagers – something that she said would be factored in the long term plan.
A key aim of the plan would be to allow “the Ghanaian girl in Ghana to complete the full cycle of education.”
“We want to protect them from teenage pregnancy. That is a key objective of the ten-year plan and the multi-sectorial approach to addressing teenage pregnancy,” the Gender Minister said.