21.7 C
Sierra Leone
Monday, July 4, 2022

‘The fight against teenage pregnancy is a call to all’

…Health Minister

By Hassan G. Koroma

Minister of Health and Sanitation, Ms. Miatta Kargbo has said that the fight against teenage pregnancy in the country is a serious concern and needs the collaboration of government ministries, local authorities, religious leaders, as well as every Sierra Leonean.

Minister Kargbo was speaking at a press conference organised by the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy, in collaboration with Afcom Sierra Leone Limited, at the head office of the latter in Lumley, prior to the launch of the web-based communication platform on teenage pregnancy.

She said the launch of the website would help to sensitise people across the country about the negative effects of teenage pregnancy and how it destroys the future leaders of the nation.

She said the establishment of the website would enable children, teachers, and local leaders learn more and educate others in their respective areas.

Ms. Kargbo noted that teenage pregnancy is not just a health issue, but something deeply rooted in poverty, gender, inequality, violence, forced marriage, power imbalance between girls and their parents, and lack of education in Sierra Leone.

She said majority of adolescent girls who become pregnant are marriage and pressured to have a child.

She said teenage pregnancy has little to do with choice, but undeniably a consequence of rights violations, including child marriage and abuse, coerced and forced sex, adding that the youngest first-time pregnant mothers bear a significantly high risk of maternal death and disabilities, including obstetric fistula, etc.

The Health and Sanitation Minister disclosed that the National Strategy for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy was launched in 2013 by President Ernest Bai Koroma and that on 18 April, they presented a good report to the president for six working months, and were able to achieve a lot since they worked as a team.

“I want you to know that teenage pregnancy is part of the president’s Agenda and the only way it can be achieved is when everybody joins the strategy in helping to fight against the scourge. It is the only way to protect the future of the nation which is in the hands of the young people and girls,” she said.

Minister of Youth Affairs, Alimamy Kamara, said it is part of his mandate to provide guidelines for young people in the country, and that government was determined to fight against teenage pregnancy which he said destroys the future of young girls.

He said the issue of teenage pregnancy has become alarming in Sierra Leone in recent years simply because young girls were not well informed about the various ways to avoid such.

According to Customer Relation Manager at Afcom Sierra Leone Limited, Enid Manley-Spain, technology usage nationwide is increasing and that it was timely to introduce and utilise 21st century innovation ideas to help educate the public, adding that through education the future of young girls would be protected.

She said the involvement of Afcom in the national strategy for the prevention of teenage pregnancy was to provide a channel of communication that would help promote the case of preventing teenage pregnancy across the country.

She said the foundation plans to use an innovative approach to positively engage teenagers and encourage, motivate and educate them and their communities on various pregnancy prevention methods in order to create a speedway for increased women’s participation in the development of the nation.

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