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Monday, January 30, 2023

Tracking the girls: Adolescent mother’s future looks bleak

With eyes focused on a painting on the wall, tears dropped, and in despair she muttered, “I never knew my education will be disrupted this way”, she said.

Ruth (not real name), 15, a basic five pupil is a victim of teenage pregnancy, she got herself entangled in a teens love affair and today she says, “when we were going home for the COVID-19 break, our teachers advised us to take good care of ourselves and to be good children at home.”

Adolescent pregnancy has been on the rise in the last couple of years in the country owing to some series of reasons including none usage of contraceptives, peer pressure, among others.

A report by the World Health Organization reveals about 12 million girls aged 15 to 19 years old give birth each year, which is about 11% of all births worldwide. Schools across Ghana were shut down in mid  March 2020 as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“For the most vulnerable children, especially girls, accessing education and staying in school is hard enough. The pandemic has caused additional, unanticipated disruption, and the likelihood of vulnerable children being able to continue their education has plummeted. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, 258 million children and youth of primary and secondary school age were already failing to access education. On top of that, the United Nations now estimates that nearly 11 million primary and secondary school learners worldwide – 5.2 million of whom are girls – are at risk of not returning to education following school closures due to COVID-19″ another report by World Vision Ghana reveals.

The Ghana Health Service in a May 2021 report revealed 107,023 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 were pregnant in 2020.

The young mother lives in Bawjiase, in the Central Region of Ghana.

“For me, It was not my intention to be pregnant at this my age, but it is a mistake that make it happened this way” Ruth said.

The father of her baby, 19-year-old junior high school graduate never agreed to the use of contraceptives according to Ruth.

“I told him that, what we are doing can lead to pregnancy, but he told me that, he will take care of me and the child if such happens.”

Also in 2019, Ghanaians unanimously rejected the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), which was to be introduced into the curriculum of Basic schools by the Ghana Education Service (GES), as a way of integrating gender, human values, and sexual and reproductive health rights, and sexuality education in the basic school curriculum.

The United Nations Population Fund, one of the campaigners of the CSE revealed “comprehensive Sexuality Education enables young people to protect their health, well-being and dignity” but Ghanaians argued it was a ploy to indoctrinate matters of lesbianism and gaysm into the students.

At age six, basic one pupils will be introduced to values and societal norms and how to interact with the different sexes and groups. And as they graduate to the upper primary, they will study different modules of sexuality that include relationship, friendship, dating and courtship.

Ruth’s mother is a trader while the father is a farmer. She is the third of six siblings.

Ruth’s future is blurry now that she cares for her baby. The hope of her returning to school is deem. “At least 24 million children are projected to drop out of school due to Covid-19” says UNICEF.

This story is supported by Journalists for Human Rights under the Mobilizing Media to Fighting COVID-19 project.

By: Collins Nsiah Kwabena|www.zamireports.com|Central Region.





























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