The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Asunafo South, Hon. Abrahams Atta Bosompem has called on all stakeholders especially those in educational and health institutions to pay attention to Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) issues by providing adequate information and services for them.
He said ASRH was a major issue that needed utmost attention, describing adolescence as “confused period” in a person’s life.
He observed that lack of information and services for adolescents on their reproductive health had led to many of them making uninformed decisions to the detriment of their lives.
The DCE made these comments during a stakeholder’s forum on Adolescent Reproductive Health for decentralised departmental heads, Assembly Members and Traditional leaders in the Asunafo South District of the Brong Ahafo.
The forum, which was organised by Future Group, a Non Governmental Organisation in collaboration with the Asunafo South District Assembly with funding support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), was aimed at increasing access to Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health services and information to meet the needs of young people in the district.
The District Health Director, Ms Joana Domitilla Debpuur, said even though the proportion of abortion in the District currently stood at 16.1%, her outfit had not recorded any case of gynecological deaths since 2013 and no rate of abortion death during this same period.
According to her, the World Health Organisation (WHO) noted that to prevent unintended pregnancies and other sexual and reproductive health risks, adolescents require information.
That, she said, included comprehensive sex education, access to full range of sexual and reproductive health services and safe and supportive environment free from exploitation and abuse.
In a presentation, the Regional School Health Co-ordinator, Mr Anthony Nimako, who took participants through roles of parents and teachers in the adolescent reproductive health, said adolescents were at higher risk of exposure to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) than adult women because of their immature reproductive systems, misconceptions and lack of knowledge about STIs.
Mr Nimako warned that pregnancies were risky for adolescent girls because their bodies had not fully matured and prepared for motherhood, and therefore advised teachers to inspire students especially girls to take their education serious.
The District Focal Person for the programme, Mr Frank Adjei, said teenage pregnancy and childbearing were linked to a host of other critical social issues such as poverty, health and education.
According to him, the programme which was expected to benefit 4,823 adolescents in the district would soon be rolled out in all the 27 Municipal and District Assemblies in the region, adding that the District was among the first nine Districts to benefit from the project.
He announced that the Assembly was yet to refurbish two adolescent corners at Kwapong and Sankore Health Centres to increase access to adolescent health information and services in the District.
Participants were optimistic that when there was a facility solely dedicated to the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescent in each of the eight circuits in the District it would help them seek information and report all their concerns in a more adolescent friendly environment.
They therefore called for an immediate removal of the adolescent corner from a far away rented apartment to the Kukuom health center.
Source: ISD( Emmanuel Yaw Acheampong)