The Sissala East Municipality is recording a year by year reduction in teenage pregnancies.
This notwithstanding, the Sissala East Municipal Director of Health Services, Alex Bapula has expressed disquiet about the high numbers and has described it is an indictment on all stakeholders in health and girl-child development in the Municipality.
In 2017, the Sissala East Municipality recorded 401 pregnancies representing 14.3 percent of the total ANCs recorded that year. In 2018, teenage pregnancies recorded reduced to 348 representing 12.4 percent of the total ANCs recorded during the period.
This year, 240 teenage pregnancies have been recorded as at October. This translates into 11.1 percent of the total ANCs recorded so far this year.
Speaking to Radio Ghana at Tumu, the Sissala East Municipal Director of Health Services, Alex Bapula said the issue of teenage pregnancy does not fall only within the remit of health.
“For me, I see it as a shame because we have all failed these teenagers. Teenage pregnancy is not only a health problem, for me, I see it as a social problem,” he explained.
Mr. Bapula expressed worry about the huge health risks associated with teenage pregnancies saying “for instance the girl comes and she is not mature enough to push the baby and that would lead to surgical operations to take out the baby. Sometimes they [mother and baby] die through these operations”.
The Sissala East Municipal Director of Health Services continued that “if you look at the trend we are around 12.5 percent. If you take the total Antenatal visit by mothers, at least 12 percent of them, are teenagers and that is a shame. WHO [World Health Organisation] is saying that we should have less than 5 percent”.
Mr. Bapula called for collective efforts from parents, teachers, traditional and religious authorities along with the health directorate to help reduce the instances of teenage pregnancies to the barest minimum.
He also called for innovative measures to enable health professionals deal with the age discrepancies with regard to the registration unto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Story filed by Mark Smith.