June 6, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai & Jaffa Condeh
A 16-year-old pregnant girl, whose boyfriend has refused to take responsibility for the pregnancy has now resorted to selling charcoal in Freetown, so as to eke out her survival.
The 16-year old victim told Concord Times that she stays at Kroo Bay together with her mother, who advised her to be selling charcoal and take care of herself.
“I also have to pay my hospital bills and buy toiletries for use. That was why I heeded to my mother’s advice in order to meet my basic needs,” she said.
She told Concord Times that she was in JSS II, attending the Government Model Secondary School but had to drop out of school as a result of the pregnancy.
Explaining her ordeal, she said her boyfriend, who she identified as Santigie Sesay deflowered her and that she got pregnant during the process.
She said her boyfriend initially had advised her to abort the pregnancy, but she refused.
She added that her mother had wanted to throw her out of the house, but one of her aunts pleaded on her behalf.
Asked if she had refused to abort the pregnancy because of the existing free health care for pregnant women, she replied that nothing was free at the hospital.
“Most times, when I go to the hospital, I pay thirty thousand Leones or more before I am given attention by the nurses. If I go to the hospital without money, the nurses will give me little or no attention. In fact, if one doesn’t have money to give to the nurses, that person is only going to be given few paracetamol tablets,” she said.
“If I don’t sell charcoal, I will not get money to feed myself. This is the business I do so that I could buy laundry soap, batteries for the Chinese lamp, and money to go to the hospital among other things,” she explained.
Mamoud Keita, a Social Worker at the National Commission for Children said the pregnant girl should start attending the remedial education centres for pregnant and lactating mothers, so that she could be refreshed on what she learnt in school.
He noted that one of the centres was located within YWCA in Brookfield near the national stadium.
He disclosed that the National Commission for Children (NCC) has recently supported one hundred (100) teenage mothers.
He added that the teenage mothers were supported with school charges, materials including bags, books, and shoes, among others.
“This support is a three-year program geared towards digging reasons behind their pregnancy, their performances at school before and after pregnancy,” he said.
He noted that if the pregnant girl had been put to bed, she would have been qualified to benefit from the NCC’s three years support program for teenage mothers.