Regional News of Friday, 14 November 2003
A sixteen member District Population Advisory Committee (DPAC) for the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem, in the Central Region, was yesterday inaugurated at Elmina to champion the reproductive health needs of youth. The inauguration coincided with the launching of the African Youth Alliance (AYA) Project to be implemented in five districts in the Central Region.
The Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation of the United States is sponsoring the project, which seeks to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases as well as improve the overall sexual reproductive health of adolescents in four African countries.
In an address, Nana Ato Arthur, District Chief Executive said the prevalence of sexual and reproductive health infections and HIV/AIDS, massive unemployment among the youth and the poor socio-economic development in the area were of great concern to the assembly.
Nana Arthur, who is also chairman of the committee, said the problems facing the youth had aggravated over the years because "in the past, we failed to put issues concerning the youth at the forefront of our activities."
"It is in this regard that the assembly decided to invite all Senior and Junior Secondary School prefects in the area to participate in the assembly's meetings to make them part of the decision making process." He said the government had also intensified its programmes and had allocated huge sums of money for youth programmes as a means of addressing problems of the adolescent.
Mr. Lesley Tetteh of the National Population Council (NPC) said the AYA projects would target young people between the ages of 10 and 24 to enlighten them on their reproductive health and help them to develop their potentials. He expressed regret that due to the lack of knowledge among the youth on their sexual reproductive health, the prevalence of the HIV pandemic was high among them.
Mr. Tetteh urged Ghanaians to embrace the project and ensure its successful implementation since it was aimed at promoting the physical, mental and social well being of the adolescent.
Mr. Paul Djan, Regional Population Officer expressed concern about the low impact on the communities despite the numerous programmes put in place by the government and various non-governmental organisations to enhance adolescent reproductive health and appealed to all stakeholders to help work towards the success of the project.