Health News of Friday, 29 June 2012
The Federation of Ghana Medical Students Association (FGMSA) on Friday called for collaborative efforts to meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents in the country.
They stressed the need for sexual and reproductive health care services particularly for teenagers, and appealed to politicians to tell the electorate how “They intend to address the diverse sexual and reproductive health care needs of Ghana’s young people when voted into power”.
Mr. Joel Djangma Akwetey, President of FGMSA addressing a press conference in Accra, said improving the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents was important not only from a public health perspective but from an economic point as well.
He explained that early marriage and childbearing as well as effects of HIV and AIDs among young people could greatly undermine the country’s socio-economic development.
Mr. Akwetey said most often, young people found themselves in situations that required them to make decisions regarding their reproductive health that could either make or mar their future.
However, in Ghana, evidence showed that young people lacked adequate knowledge about sexual and reproductive health issues as well as unable to access them in public health facilities, thereby turning to sources which gave them incorrect or half-baked information.
The Association said recent findings indicated that among adolescents aged 15 to 19 who had ever had sex, those with more formal education reported higher levels of contraceptive use than their peers with less schooling.
It therefore emphasized the need to tackle both the out-of-school and in-school young adolescent in the various reproductive health education, stressing that such education should start with pupils in class four for them to be well abreast with health issues.
“As the mouthpiece of all medical and dental students in Ghana, FGMSA affirms its support for the provision of and access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive care at public facilities for young people.”
He said the Association as part of its annual National Health Week celebration in September, would visit communities in various districts to educate the people on health issues, especially on reproductive health.
Dr. Koma Jehu-Appiah, Country Director of IPAS, an organisation that protect and advance women’s health and reproductive rights, commended the students for championing reproductive health issues among the youth, saying many young people go about with such health problems and felt shy to go for medical treatment,” because the system is not favourable to them” .
He appealed to politicians to focus on family planning as a measure to control population growth and ensure the reproductive health of women.**