A research conducted by Social Initiative for Literacy and Development Programme (SILDEP) has revealed that a total of 3,473 teenage pregnancies were recorded in the Upper West Region in 2016.
Out of this, 61 of them were defilement cases, a predominant practice in the Wa West, Sissala East and Sissala West Districts which recorded a total of 1,074 cases.
Specifically, the study revealed that Wa West recorded a total of 484 teenage pregnancy cases with nine cases of defilement, Sissala East 305 cases with four cases of defilement and Sissala West 269 cases with three cases of defilement.
Mr. Moses Dramani Luri, the Chief Executive Officer of SILDEP said this while addressing some women and girls during the International Women’s Day Celebration at Gwollu.
He said the research which was conducted in 60 basic schools in the three districts indicated that girls who were above 16 years willingly consented to sex leading to the pregnancies.
“The victims either had their families approached to approve of marriage or family members pushed such girls to perpetrators to be cared for till delivery”, he noted.
Mr. Luri said social ties cherished among community members made it difficult for affected families to report such cases to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution.
The CEO of SILDEP said the International Women’s Day was celebrated to commemorate the contributions of gallant women to the advancement of society across the world.
“Therefore, tackling, gender base violence is a strategic way to advance women’s rights and empowerment in several areas including health, education, work, freedom from violence, and participation in public life”, he said.
Mr. Luri said it was essential that all relevant stakeholders including community and religious leaders; school teachers and administrators; health care workers; police, prosecutors and the judiciary; government officials; the media; parents and children to understand and commit to their role in ending gender base violence.
He said it was for this reason that SILDEP was implementing the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA) Project in collaboration with Plan International Ghana in the Upper West Region to sensitise girls and other stakeholders to become conscious of the rights of girls.
He said the five-year project (2016-2020) despite its regional focus, had been working extensively in the Wa West, Sissala East and Sissala West Districts because of the peculiar issues the districts presented.
Madam Patience Abavana, a participant, lamented over the issue of child marriage, saying a child who gave birth to a child lacked the capacity to give the baby adequate care.
She appealed to all stakeholders to fight for the elimination of the practice.
Madam Amamata Kassim, also a participant called on fathers not to leave the care of children in the hands of their mothers alone but join hands with them to ensure their upbringing especially the girls.