6 August 2018

Sierra Leone: Binta's World

The need for parents to complement efforts of NGO's in creating a society free from teenage pregnancy

August 3, 2018

By Binta Njie-Jatta

When most parents pay scant or no attention to educating and monitoring their adolescents about and on sexual matters, even if we have both local and international NGOs at the doorstep of every home, the problem of teenage pregnancy will only be on the increase and not the contrary.

Discussing sexual issue in most African societies is seen as a taboo. Even in the few communities or households that make it a priority to educate their adolescents on those matters, the focus is more on the girls, forgetting that availing the child sexual knowledge and awareness while leaving out boys is like filling a basket with water because they go through these sexual encounters with boys.

The Secretariat on the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy in Sierra Leone came up with a six pillar strategic approach, notably the Adolescent Friendly Services, Enabling School Environment (establishing school clinics), Communication and advocacy, Community Ownership of which monitoring and evaluation was recently included.

The Secretariat is working hand in glove with the Ministries of Youth Affairs, Education, Social Welfare, Local Government, Health and Education to ensure that teenage pregnancy is significantly reduced.

The unintended pregnancy of adolescents can be as a result of numerous things, some of which can be peer pressure, poverty, lack of knowledge, sexual abuse, early marriage or rape, absence of parents or lack of monitoring guidance or exposing teenagers to threats.

The rise of adolescent mothers can be a great challenge to economic growth and development, thus increasing burden of society, limiting adolescent opportunities and increase in teenage pregnancy because others can follow the footsteps of their peers, increase in the rate of abortion (putting their lives at risk), increase in baby dumping, infanticide, concealment of birth and other related offences.

Moreover, if the abstinence crusade is not achievable, adolescents need not only education in the different contraceptive mechanism, but its availability, ease and accessibility because we want a society where every child is wanted.

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