Friday, 29 July 2016

Blog Info: Teenage Pregnancy

In beginning this blog topic, WOSAG are keen to stress that whilst we as a charitable institution are focused mainly on providing solutions for issues such as Teenage Pregnancy (TP) in Northern Ghana, information provided by the Ghanaian Health Services (GHS) makes clear that TP is an issue that is faced by all regions of Ghana, to varying degrees dependent on geographical size and population.

Teenage Pregnancy has a large visible affect on the social makeup and population growth of Ghana. Roughly one in four teenagers become pregnant by the age of twenty, and with birth statistics taken for the year 2014, 38% of all births were by adolescents. Additionally, looking at the figures of adolescents in Ghana in the same year, 14% of those aged between 15 and 19 had begun or gone through childbearing.

Causes identified by the GHS included high levels of poverty throughout communities, the higher the average of TP correlating with the more endemic cases of poverty in that area, early marriage, gender discrimination, a lack of sexual and reproductive health education and general lack of access to contraceptives.

Regional differences too were noted. The highest recorded levels were found in the Upper East Region, with up to 15% of pregnancies likely to be incidents of TP, whilst the lowest was found at 4.4% in the Northern Region (in which WOSAG is based). The region surrounding the capital, Greater Accra, recorded level roughly half that of the highest in the country, at 6.6%. The team would like to point out here that whilst statistically the GHS results are accurate for that area, massively differing population size does contribute in this system to showing higher rates of TP in area of lower pollution density.

Additionally, the survey found that regionally there were trends found. Some, like the Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions were recording increasing levels of T.P, whilst others like Northern Region were stagnant. No areas were recorded as showing decreasing.

Finally, it is important to note that the top ten districts showing highest prevalence of TP were all urbanised areas, showing a combination of both rising population growth against the lack of health education, and that the survey also noted that in all regions of the country females were experiencing first sexual encounters earlier than males. This can possibly in the factors identified by the G.H.S as gender discrimination and high poverty levels.

In conducting this report on TP, the GHS noted that there was a direct link between levels of education and the age of an individual's first sexual intercourse experience. This failure of providing good levels of health and sexual education created a lack of information that other issues, some cultural and long standing traditionally, have further compounded the prevalence of TP throughout Ghana. We are grateful to the G.H.S for making available their data through their 2014 report and are committed through the work that WOSAG is doing to helping start the trend of decreasing rates of T.P in the Northern Region and throughout Ghana.

Written by Attah Hannah Afi and Benjamin Horne
Edited by Ellie Gibbs

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