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Regional News of Sunday, 25 October 2015

Source: GNA

Brong-Ahafo ranks third in teenage pregnancy nationally

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The Brong-Ahafo Region ranks third in in-school teenage pregnancy in the country, Ms Mary Gyimah, Sunyani Municipal Director of Education has disclosed in Sunyani.

She said research indicates that “the Region has a lot of issues about adolescent sexual reproductive health” and lamented that, it was militating against the Ghana Education Service’s (GES’s) major objective of quality education for pupils and students to become useful citizens after school.

Ms Gyimah was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) after the opening of a three-day training workshop on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Manual for 63 teachers, comprising 26 males and 37 females from 21 basic schools in the Sunyani Municipality.

They were made up of Guidance and Counseling Coordinators, School Health Education Programme (SHEP) Coordinators and Headteachers.

The workshop was sponsored by the Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom (UK), through Palladium, a UK-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) that is into education and promotion of quality adolescent sexual reproductive health.

It aimed at equipping the participants to lead in the formation of the adolescent school health clubs in the Municipality and also defining their responsibilities to ensure effective organisation and success of the clubs in their respective schools.

Ms Gyimah noted that quality education produced graduates as assets but not liabilities to themselves, communities and country, and to achieve that “school should go through the pupils and students but not they going through the school,” she added.

But a major hindrance in attaining the GES’s goal in the country is teenage pregnancy, hence the implementation of the Ghana Adolescent Reproductive Health (GHARH) Project by the GES in the Brong-Ahafo Region with the support from the DFID, Ms Gyimah said.

She said the GES was very much concerned about the sexual and reproductive health of in-school adolescents because of its consequences on access and regular participation in school and quality education outcomes.

“Programmes that prepare adolescents to be healthy are their right and, therefore, adolescent reproductive health issues have been integrated across several subjects in the basic and secondary school curriculum”, Ms Gyimah said.

She stressed the importance of the workshop because “Teachers require information and opportunities to develop the values, knowledge and skills of their pupils, and that, students need to lead healthy lives as they make informed decisions which affect their lives”.

Mrs. Lydia Effah-Duodu, Sunyani Municipal Coordinator of SHEP, also in an interview, added that, as part of efforts and activities to improve life skills and behaviour change among adolescents through the Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) education programme, the GES had developed three manuals to address ASRH issues in schools.

She said the three manuals are the “Teacher-led Manual”, “The Child-led Manual” and “ the Community-led Manual”, and that, in the Ghanaian society, “it has become a norm that children are to be seen but not to be heard, so the manuals have been published to address that development challenge in our communities”.

The three manuals are therefore ARSH knowledge acquisition guides for the teachers and the Parent-Teacher-Associations to impart the necessary information for the children to know the dos and don’ts in the adolescent years to overcome the associated challenges for their proper development, she added.

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