The issue of the ever increasing rate of premarital pregnancy in the Central Region of Ghana, especially, in the capital city of Cape Coast, has since gotten to a very worrisome level. The annual central region teenage pregnancy figures is always above those of so many other regions of the country, thereby drawing attention to itself time and again.
According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) report on teenage pregnancy, 12,048 teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 19 got impregnated in the Central Region just in 2016 alone.
Although the current figures are much lower than what used to be obtainable, the Central Region has remained one of the highest when it comes to teenage pregnancy in the entirety of Ghana. And despite priding itself as the citadel of education as well as the centre of tourism in Ghana, the menace of teenage pregnancy have continued to be a dent on the region’s image.
It is this lingering problem that prompted the National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) in Cape Coast to carry out a survey in order to unravel the possible reasons behind this heightened level of illicit sex and its resultant effects in the area.
NASPA’s Survey and Findings
The National Service Personnel Association (NASPA) in Cape Coast carried out a house-to-house interaction with some youths in Cape Coast town and its environs on the various factors contributing to the high rate of prostitution in the area and how to curb the menace. The following information were retrieved:
1. UCC Male Students “Sex-for-Money”
NASPA discovered from some Cape Coast youngsters that male students of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) are responsible for a greater percentage of teenage pregnancies being recorded in the region.
According to some teenagers located in Apewosika and Amamoma, male students of UCC go round and sleeping with girls in the community in exchange for money. It was also discovered that these unscrupulous university students lure the teenage girls into illicit sex; sometimes giving them as little as GHC1.
Despite the several sensitization programs being organised in the area to educate the youth on the dangers of premarital sex, the naive adolescents still fall prey of the university students’ allurements since they always look up to them as big educated boys with bright future.
However, their ignorant hopes are on all occasions dashed as their UCC boyfriends end up dumping and denying them once they find out they are pregnant.
2. Parents’ Demands
It was also revealed to NASPA that some parents contribute to their children’s involvement in prostitution by making money demands from them. This was considered to be very possible seeing the prevailing level of poverty in Cape Coast and its adjoining communities. Many families are living under extreme poverty, with their children/wards dropping out of school to face an unknown future.
NASPA’s Anti-teenage Pregnancy Campaign
In order to find lasting solutions to the central region teenage pregnancy menace, NASPA also visited the university communities to embark on teenage pregnancy awareness campaign.
The campaign, which was themed “Our Girls, Our Future,” was aimed at educating the girls and discouraging teenagers from engaging in illicit sex.
The group also called on Domestic Violence & Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), to start the arrest and prosecution of male students who keep impregnating girls in the community.