The National Population Council (NPC) has expressed worry over the alarming rate of teenage pregnancies in the country.
Official reports from the state agency indicate that about 3,000 young girls between the ages of 10-14 years got pregnant. Also, a total number of about 10,000 cases were recorded amongst teenage girls between the ages of 15-19 in 2020 alone.
There are fears that the cumulative figures could surge this year if immediate action is not taken by stakeholders to address the situation.
Executive Director of the National Population Council Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah in an interview with Class News on the sidelines of the Adolescent Reproductive Health Summit held in Accra noted that: “These figures are not just statistics…the [teenage mothers and children] would all have needs, they would all need jobs, they would all need services. Otherwise, we should be prepared to deal with the consequences. Why is there so much crime? People who are cared for and catered for are not criminals. We society push people into criminality and then we chastise them.”
The executive director added “If a child is well-fed, if a child has his or her reproductive health met, especially a girl she is ok but when she needs to have a pad [and can’t afford,] why won’t she go and sleep with another person for a pad?
“The girl who hasn’t gotten pad sleeps with somebody for a pad and then gets a baby. Can she afford the baby in addition to the pad?
“We just compound the issues and we need to be bold and confront our issues…what can we do as a society to make sure that we move forward? Other countries have done it and we can do it. We have a lot of natural resources but what is keeping us back is our focus on the human resource.”
Other stakeholders including the UNFPA are backing the call by the NPC for immediate action as they warn that the surging rates of teenage pregnancy could pose challenges to Ghana’s development.