The Deputy Central Regional Minister, Mr Thomas Yaw Adjei-Baffoe, has underscored the need for all stakeholders in the Central Region who have the interest of children at heart to join the campaign against child marriage, teenage pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence.
He said that was the surest way to support the government in curbing child marriage and other forms of abuse against children.
He commended the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for collaboration with the Central Regional Coordinating Council (CRCC) to undertake activities that empowered women and children to be advocates against child marriage, teenage pregnancy and sexual violence.
Mr Adjei-Baffoe was speaking at a working meeting with traditional authorities to develop guidelines for addressing child marriage, teenage pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence in Cape Coast.
The meeting, which was sponsored by the UNFPA, in collaboration with the Central Region Department of Gender, attracted more than 100 traditional rulers from the region.
He said although available statistics from the Ghana Health Service had revealed that there had been some reduction in teenage pregnancies, there was still a “major work ahead to reduce it to the barest minimum.”
The Ghana Health Service revealed that in 2015, 13,014 cases of teenage pregnancies were recorded with the figure reducing to 12,486, representing 13.3 per cent in 2016 and the trend continued downwards with 11,364 cases recorded in 2017 representing 13.1 per cent.
He said since UNFPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CRCC in 2012, it had provided funds for campaigns against teenage pregnancy, child marriage and also for the training of various stakeholders.
The Central Regional Director of Department of Gender, Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, urged traditional authorities to ensure that parents who indulged in child marriage and other preparators of child abuse in the community were reported to the law enforcement agencies to help protect children.
The Queenmother of Anomabo, Nana Mbroba Dabor, who chaired the function, admonished parents to provide their children with their basic needs to prevent them from being lured and sexually abused in the quest to fend for themselves.
In a communique, participating students from the region noted that lack of sex education, poor counseling services in schools, peer pressure, alcohol and drug abuse, among others were contributory factors to the increased cases in teenage pregnancy.