The Western Regional Manager of the National Population Council (NPC) Frank Ofosu-Asante has expressed concern about the increasing rate of child marriage in the region.
Statistics indicate that 37 per cent of girls in the Western Region would be married before they turn 18.
He bemoaned the fact that most teenage girls, particularly those in the remote areas in the region, faced many challenges such as pregnancy, early marriages, early child-births, HIV and AIDS infections as well as irresponsible sexual behaviours.
Mr Ofosu-Asante mentioned that these factors retarded the growth, development, education and lowered the rate of many teenagers completing schools.
He also pointed out that abortion cases among teenagers in some parts of the region, particularly the mining and cocoa growing areas, were on the ascendancy while birth registration was low.
“It is pathetic to note that young girls as low as 10 and below in some parts of the region are subjected to early sex and early marriage,” he indicated.
He, therefore, called on the government to make conscious efforts to make family planning available and accessible to people of reproductive age, particularly women and adolescent girls.
Mr. Ofosu-Asante revealed this when he interacted with some journalists in the Western Region to mark this year’s World Population Day. The Regional NPC also organized health screening to mark the day.
It was held on the theme:”Family planning is a human right, an imperative to sustainable national development”.
The occasion is usually used to create awareness about population issues such as family planning, human rights, right to health, gender equality, and child marriage, use of contraceptives, sex education, and knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases.
He mentioned that the low patronage of contraceptives among teenage girls, women and male adults was a recipe for population escalation considering the 2.5 per cent population growth rate as recorded in the 2010 population census.
He stressed that making family planning accessible to people of reproductive age was key to eradicating extreme poverty, hunger, and ensuring environmental sustainability.
He added: “Family planning will lead to the incidence of small family sizes which would afford parents the opportunity to adequately provide for the needs of the children and nurture them into responsible citizens in the future”.
According to the Regional Manager of NPC, the country’s population was projected to reach 45.8 million by 2040 should the current growth rate remain unchanged.
Mr Ofosu-Asante then called on the media to help increase the sensitization and usage of contraceptives so as to avoid population challenges and other socio-economic repercussions.
He mentioned lack of vehicles, inadequate office furniture, erratic flow of funds from central government and obsolete office equipment, among other things, as some of the challenges confronting his office and impeding effective operations.
Source: Daily Guide