The Kumasi metropolis has for the past two years recorded an increase in adolescent pregnancy in the Ashanti Region.
Records from the health facilities in the metropolis indicate that 70 per cent of these adolescents are students aged 15 to 19.
The Deputy Director of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service in the Ashanti Region, Dr Akwasi Awudzi-Yeboah, said a total of 3,550 cases of pregnancy were recorded at health facilities in the metropolis in 2014 and out of that number, 1,393 were adolescents aged 15 to 19. The figure represented 39 per cent of total cases reported.
In 2015, he said, the figure increased to 1,718 out of 3,951 cases, representing 44 per cent of the cases.
He said there was the probability that the number could be more than this as “these were the reported cases at the health facilities.”
Dr Awudzi-Yeboah gave the statistics at the launch of an adolescent reproductive health clinic at the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Centre of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
He stressed the need to educate the youth, particularly those in school, on reproductive health and the choices available to them if they wanted to engage in sex.
According to him, abortion-related deaths constituted the third leading cause of maternal deaths at KATH and advised the youth to protect themselves against any unplanned pregnancy.
That, he said, would ensure that the adolescents would not contemplate abortion when they got pregnant or would take preventive measures to avoid it.
She said abortion should not be an option as one could not compare the cost of abortion and its consequences to that of preventive reproductive health care.
Head of unit
The Head of the unit, Dr Emmanuel Morhe, also stressed the need to introduce adolescents to reproductive health care, and explained that in most cases, adolescents had been sidelined in all programmes with the assumption that they were not supposed to engage in sex.
However, he said, the physiological and hormonal changes that took place within their system made them susceptible to temptation and they ended up getting pregnant.
The adolescent clinic was, therefore, to afford them the opportunity to know more about reproductive health and how they could avoid unplanned pregnancies.
Although he said abstinence was the best method, “we should give them options when they decide to have sex.”
He said the centre was youth-friendly and appealed to the youth to avail themselves of the services there.