The Wa West district director of health service, Mr Clifford Veng has attributed the high spate of teenage pregnancy in the Wa West district to the cultural orientation of the people.
According to Mr Veng, most of the teenage mothers in the district are fully married, thereby making it difficult to bring the situation under control. He further revealed that, it was common in the district to see girls as young as 12 years become pregnant. “Girls in their early teens are given out for marriage, so we must change this cultural behavior in order to reduce teenage pregnancy in the district”, he stated.
Per the statistics from the Wa West district health director, about 18.2% of pregnant cases recorded between January and June 2019 were teenagers; with Eggu sub-district on top of the chart.
Mr Clifford Veng made these revelations during a “Meet the Press” session organized by the Wa West district assembly on 13th September, 2019.
Some assembly members who participated in the programme confirmed that teenage pregnancy, child marriages and elopement are part of the cultural practices of some communities within the district.
Although the Department of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, Traditional rulers and some NGOs continue to carry out sensitization across the district, many believe little can be achieved until the cultural orientation of the people is changed.
Meanwhile, the Wa West district has chalked a mammoth success in the area of maternal mortality. The district has recorded “zero” maternal mortality from November 2018 to date. This the district health director attributes to the creation of an “emergency response system” which enables pregnant women across the district to be transported to the district hospital free of charge for comprehensive health care service.