Ghana requires GH₵5b to address adolescent reproductive health challenges – Marie Stopes

Ghana requires about GH₵5 billion (equivalent to $1 billion) to undertake advocacy programmes to address adolescent reproductive health challenges in the next five years.

The amount would be used to undertake education and sensitization programmes on sexual and reproductive health, purchase family planning products for distribution to teenagers, mental health education, and emoluments of human resources who would implement the adolescent health strategies on the field.

Currently the average teenage pregnancy prevalent rate stood at 14.2 per cent in the Greater Accra Region and more than 20 per cent in the rest of the regions.

Mr Godfred Bonnah-Nkansah, the Advocacy Manager/Youth Focal Person of Marie Stopes Ghana, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday on the sidelines of a Dissemination Workshop on the State of Adolescent Reproductive Health Financing in Ghana.

He called for increased investment in adolescent reproductive health, noting that countries that increased funding on adolescent health education campaigns reaped enormous dividends.

He said although the Government had covered the human resource cost and infrastructure requirement, much more was required to be done in providing funding to drive the various activities outlined in the Adolescent Health Campaign Strategy.

Mr Bonnah-Nkwansah said the Government committed only 7.2 per cent of the national budget to adolescent health advocacy in 2017, compared to Rwanda that allocated 20 per cent, which was helping that country to drastically reduce her infant and maternal mortality rates and teenage pregnancy.

A 12-points communiqué issued by the participants at the end of last year’s National Adolescent Reproductive Health Summit, expressed the need to adequately resource state institutions to undertake public advocacy on adolescent reproductive health.

It also called for integration of public health issues in the National Health Insurance Scheme, setting up of adolescent reproductive health clubs in schools and exploring technologies to educate teenagers on those issues.

Dr Leticia Adalaide Appiah, the Executive Director of the National Population Council, in her welcome address, reiterated the need to increase investment in adolescent reproductive health advocacy to aid in minimizing teenage pregnancy in Ghana.

Madam Anne Coolen, the Country’s Director of Marie Stopes International, on her part, bemoaned the inadequate financial support for sexual and reproductive health advocacy and underlined the need for all stakeholders to support a laudable cause for a brighter future.

Mr Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, the Member of Parliament for Wa Central, and Member of the Population Caucus in Parliament, on behalf of the Caucus, pledged to support the educational drive and lobbying for more budgetary allocation towards adolescent reproductive health programmes.

The workshop was organised by the National Population Council, in collaboration with Marie Stopes International, Ghana, which attracted Directors of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, civil society groups, students and the media.

Marie Stopes International is an international organisation established in 1976, which provides contraception and safe abortion services and reproductive health information to women across the world.

The Organisation has about 11,000 team members working in 37 countries worldwide and aided women to give birth by choice and not by chance.

It has touched the lives of more than 120 million women and girls globally over the past 40 years.

Source: GNA

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