Teenage pregnancy continues to be a challenge for most countries especially those in Africa. For Ghana, this is a serious health and social issue that needs to be addressed to save the future of young Ghanaian girls. When girls and women give birth early they reduce their chances of getting academically empowered and most of their career opportunities are stripped off them. Early teenage pregnancy is associated with a number of things top on the list being high fertility rates. It is defined as unintended pregnancy that occurs in a girl’s adolescent stage. There is proof that girls can get pregnant as early as 12 years old hence the need for caregivers to exercise caution by taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening.
Statistics in Ghana is alarming as far as teenage pregnancy is concerned. In 2015 only, there were more than 10000 early pregnancies recorded not to mention the cases that never get reported. This means that the numbers could be much higher. In 2014, the reports from health survey showed that of all births recorded, 30% were adolescents. In fact the survey further revealed that 14% of all women bearing children are aged 15 to 19 putting them in the teenage child bearing bracket.
The statics have not changed much from that time and in fact they are feared to have increased over the years. Why this is happening is still to be established. However, the bottom line remains that there needs to be an active sexual education for this age-group in Ghana to avoid having numerous young mothers lose out in school because of early child bearing. Immediate intervention is called for if the future of women in Ghana is to be salvaged.
Causes of teenage pregnancy in Ghana
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Questions have been raised as to what could be the reason behind the high numbers of teenage pregnant girls in Ghana. While this may be common in many countries in Africa, it is exceptionally high in Ghana and as such there is a need to come to the root of it. Research has shown that the issue of early pregnancy could be caused by several issues including the following.
- Irresponsible parents
- Peer pressure
- Bad company
- Lack of attention and affection
- Irresponsibility of children
- Too much freedom when parents fail to put in place control measures
Causes, effects and solutions of teenage pregnancy in Ghana
As mentioned above, most teenage girls in Ghana get pregnant they are forced to find a means to survive since the effects of poverty is just too much on them. It is especially difficult when the girls have to help their parents to raise the other siblings. As such they find themselves giving into advances of men who promise to meet their needs.
Apart from poverty, parents fail to keep their children in line and as such contribute in the high levels of teenage pregnancy. When parents fail to put control measures to what their children can do and watch the kids tend to stray even without their knowledge. In some instance parents are too busy fending for the children that they forget their first responsibility which is to raise their children. When children are left to raise themselves there is no telling what they can do. The internet and misleading friends can become their lesson plans and as such early pregnancies could set in because of the misplaced ideas they got along the way.
In some cases the girls act out as a result of lacking the much needed attention. When mum and dad are absent some kids tend to find solace in other areas which could be tempting. This is how they fall for peer pressure and became irresponsible to the extent that teenage pregnancy becomes a consequence of their actions.
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With some of the causes that trigger early pregnancies in girls known, it is important for parents to be involved in the lives of their children. Taking time to talk about important issues could save your child’s life. There is a lot that can happen when a child gets pregnant that early.
Apart from the medical complications that could arise, the child could get depressed and disoriented because they are too young to start raising children. It is also possible that they have to stop schooling even if for a while. This will pull them back and delay their academic path. The unfortunate girls who may not afford to go back to school after child birth are left to look for menial jobs when they would have had a better shot at future life if they had stayed in school.
More often than not children feel ashamed and could dissociate with their peers which in turn affects their development and overall well being. Parents’, teachers and the community at large ought to work towards ensuring that teenage pregnancy is prevented. In the event that a teenage girl gets pregnant, it is also important to embrace them and walk with them. This will prevent that possibility of making rushed decisions that cost a life.
What are the causes of teenage pregnancy in Ghana?
More often than not teenage pregnancy is caused by a number of issues discussed above. However, inasmuch as the causes of teenage pregnancies are similar in countries across the world, there are those that are specific to a nation. For Ghana chances are that poverty is a leading cause of this issue as kids are forced to fend for themselves. Other causes include:
- Ignorance about sex. Parents and teachers do not take time to teach children on this subject as they assume that they will learn along the way
- Lack of parental supervision. This is ranked top on the list of early pregnancy causes. There are many absentee parents in houses with teenage kids
- Social misfits as children born to this teenagers grow to continue the trend as they lacked some of the things that are considered basic such as education.
Effects of teenage pregnancy in Ghana
Some of the specific effects of teenage pregnancy as experienced in Ghana include the following:
- Distraction in future. It is easy for the girl to get pregnant gain without proper counselling
- Rejection and seclusion
- Shame hence the teenage keeps to herself. This could lead to depression
- Lack of focus
- Lack of career life
- Hindrance to education and delays
- Affects credibility and trust
Teenage pregnancy can easily go south. In most cases it is unwanted and as such could attract wrong consequences such as unsafe abortions. In extreme cases the teenagers can easily become suicidal and as such pose danger to the mother. It is possible that poverty may continue as they cycle is not broken.
The best solution can only come after a proper understating of the factors influencing teenage Pregnancy in Ghana is made. The government and other stake holder need to take an active role in ensuring that everything that predisposes teenagers to early pregnancy is addressed. When parents become more involved in providing guidance to their children and the government focuses on minimizing poverty, girls will be safer and may easily get back on track concerning their lives. Curbing teenage pregnancy will not only work for the girls alone but also future society.