The Afrikids Ghana, a child focused Non-Governmental Organization in collaboration with the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health (GHS), is implementing a new Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health project dubbed “Futures Freedom Project”.
The three-year project is sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID ) Medicore Foundation and the Peoples Postcode Lottery, all based in the United Kingdom.
Its objectives include to change the social norms surrounding Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in the Region.
Mr David Pwalua, the Director of Programmes of Afrikids Ghana, said this at a stakeholder’s sensitization forum on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health held in Bolgatanga.
He said although reproductive health has been a key focus area for the GHS, the region and the nation continues to witness high rate of maternal mortality cases, teenage pregnancies, illegal abortions, school drop outs, increasing STDI’s and HIV/AIDs infections.
Mr Pwalua said Afrikids Ghana which has been working in the northern parts of the country for the past 15 years, has initiated many interventions including assisting street children, child labour, trafficking, child marriage and general child abuse.
He said what informed the decision of Afrikids Ghana to venture into the implementation of the new project with the GHS was the high rate of teenage pregnancy, illegal abortions and sexually transmitted diseases among the adolescents.
Mr Pwalua, who mentioned the beneficiary Districts as Binduri, Zebila, Talensi, Nabdam, Kassena -Nankana Municipal, Builsa North and South Districts, said the project would target both young girls and boys in their reproductive ages in schools and out of school.
Dr Abdula-Razak Dokurugu, the Deputy Director of the GHS in charge of Clinical Care, blamed the spate of unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS and all forms of sexual violence and coercion among the adolescent to the lack of Sexual and Reproductive Health education.
He said the GHS could not address the issue alone and called on parents, management of schools and communities to embark on sex education.
He said the future of the adolescent would be at risk if the problem was not confronted now, and could affect a lot of homes as well as national development.
Among the key stakeholders who attended the forum were, the staff of the GHS, the Ghana Education Service, Faith based organizations, Civil Society Organizations, Afrikids Ghana staff, the , the Coalition of NGOs in Health, the Ghana Red Cross Society and the Media.