Prampram — Female pupils have been advised to focus on their studies to achieve success, and not to allow themselves to be impregnated and drop out of school.
The Ningo-Prampram District Girls' Education Officer, Ms Felicity Mawuli Adoboe, gave this advice at a mentorship programme at Prampram to empower adolescent girls on sexual reproductive health rights and gender- based violence.
Organised by the Department of Gender under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, with support from the UNFPA and the Ningo-Prampram District Assembly, the programme sought to empower participants to take on peer education roles in their communities.
In attendance were 108 female pupils drawn from Prampram Freeman Methodist Basic School, Dawhenya D. A. Basic School, Lotsubuer D. A. Basic School, Nigbenya D. A. Basic School and Afienya D. A. 'B' Basic School.
Ms Adoboe urged the participants to apply what they learnt at the workshop in order to grow into responsible adults.
The District Health Director of Ningo-Prampram, Ms Gifty Ansah, expressed worry about the increasing incident of teenage pregnancy and HIV infection in the district, making some pupils drop out of school.
She said a survey carried out in the district showed that in 2018, out of 3,471 pregnancies recorded in health facilities, 420 were adolescents aged 10 to19 years.
Moreover in 2017, out of 3,088 pregnancies, 389 were adolescents, while in 2016; the district recorded 389 adolescent pregnancies, out of a total of 2,881.
Ms Ansah said the study also showed that in 2018, out of 708 people that tested HIV positive, 13 of them were adolescents, while in 2017, out of 271 that tested HIV positive, 10 of them were adolescents. The study also found 10 adolescents among 314 people who tested HIV positive in 2016.
She noted that further investigation revealed that some of the affected school girls exchanged sex for money, as their parents could not provide all their needs.
Ms Ansah therefore appealed to parents, the district assembly, churches and other stakeholders to come together to help turn the situation around.
The District Chief Executive Officer of Ningo-Prampram, Jonathan T. Doku, assured that the assembly would intensify collaborative efforts with development partners and NGOs, to alleviate poverty in the area.
Madam Theodora Mohenu, Administrator at the Domestic Violence Secretariat at the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, said gender based violence had negative effects on victims and affected their development.
She urged the participants to report cases of domestic violence to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the police or call the Gender desk helpline 00800800800 or 00800800900 for redress.