Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), Dr Adelaide Leticia Appiah is advocating investment in reproductive health needs as it has the potency of becoming a national security threat.
According to Dr Appiah, failure to do this has led to women producing children without the ability to cater for them leading to increase in the number of street children which serves as a fertile base for recruiting criminals.
Speaking at a colloquium organised by Curious Minds on the theme: “Addressing Reproductive Health Needs of Women and Girls; the Role of Policy Makers in Sustaining the Advocacy”, Dr. Appiah said: “Not meeting the reproductive health needs of vulnerable people puts them in a compromised position where they have children they cannot take care of and then they are on the streets.”
She added: “On the streets, you don’t have lawyers being trained, you don’t have doctors coming out of the streets. You have people who you can easily mobilise to do bad things and that becomes a security issue.
“So you can link reproductive health and security and so it is important that we meet the reproductive health needs so that we can even reduce our security bill.”
For his part, Executive Coordinator of Curious Minds, Kingsley Obeng-Kyereh said the colloquium has come at a crucial time where reports reveal more girls of school-going age are becoming pregnant due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “In recent times we’ve heard a lot of reports about girls getting pregnant, especially during this pandemic. We know teenage pregnancy is already a big problem for us, but during this period it has escalated in one way or the other but this is not the only problem that we’ve been faced with in terms of reproductive health issues.
“So for us, it means that we need to keep up the advocacy on such issues because the more we relax, the more things happen on our blindside.’
“So for us, keeping the talk going and keeping with the advocacy is quite important. That is why we brought various players together to look at the issues because the more we talk about it the more we make it an agenda that people should be looking at so that we look around us and try to find solutions and give support to those who are working in that direction” he added.
Speaking at that same event, Naadu Ewuradjoa Addico, Youth Programmes Assistant at Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), reiterated calls for some reforms including the revision of the consent age from 16 to 18 years.
This she believes has contributed to early pregnancies contributing to the increase in numbers of teenage pregnancies in the country.