Accra , July 28, GNA -The Research and Resource Centre (CRRECENT) on Wednesday held the fourth Child, Youth and Young Women Advocacy Forum on the theme: ‘’Motherhood in Childhood,’’ which focuses on Teenage Motherhood and is Implications for National Development.
Its emphasis is on the experiences of teenage mothers at Abenta in the Akuapim North District of the Eastern Region.
The experiences were derived from focus group discussion of women who brought forth their children in their teenage years and highlight the causes, effects as well as coping strategies of teenage motherhood.
The discussion reflected early initiation into sexual activity due to poverty, parental neglect and bad company.
Ms Susan Sabaa, Executive Director of CRRECENT said, the Centre drew inspiration of the theme from the 2013 publication of the State of World Population by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which highlights on the main challenges of adolescent pregnancy and its serious impact on girls’ education, health and long-term employment opportunities.
According to her, an educated research suggests that, an estimated 750,000 teenagers from 15 to 19 years become pregnant in Ghana annually.
Ms Sabaa said, children born out of this unfortunate situation mostly continue with the generational trend, which adds to the number of untrained human resource that the nation must take care of.
Mr BabaTunde Okyere, Country Representative for UNFPA said the country must take the necessary steps to support not only adolescent mothers, but their children as well.
He said the necessary investments such as education, skills and health needs to be provided for these children so that, they do not go through the trauma their mother’s went through.
Mr Okyere said, addressing the menace calls for partnership with government, civil society, media, professional groups and other stakeholders to take collective actions that is geared towards coming up with the solutions that would bring about the change and break the trend.
Professor Kodjo Sena from the Department of Sociology, University of Ghana, in a key note address explained that, in order to foster any meaningful discourse on the phenomenon, it is important to first contextualise it within the social structure of traditional Ghanaian society.
He said, in closely knit traditional societies where respect for the central norms and values of society regarding reproduction was strictly enforced, adolescent promiscuity and unplanned pregnancy and motherhood were not tolerated.
He said, in the face of rapid social transformation, these traditional norms and values have collapsed, adding “parents have lost control in their search for daily bread while schools are no longer able to inculcate traditional discipline in pupils.
He said teenage motherhood is the result of lack of nationally coordinated development policies and programmes that sufficiently address the problems of poverty, urban-biased development among the youth, especially the vulnerable section of the country.
He called for a national research to be undertaken to ascertain the magnitude and dimensions of teenage motherhood so as to dive evidence-based policies and programs for this venerable group.