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Youth Campions, stakeholders discuss causes of teenage pregnancy

June 29, 2021

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Youth Champions of Save the Children, last week Thursday, June 24, held a roundtable discussion with government, donor partners and stakeholders on their findings in regards to the increase in the number of teenage pregnancy in the country.

The Youth Champions, under Save the Children Gender ‘Bizness’ project, with funding from Irish Aid, had embarked on a research in the Murry Town Community in Freetown and Waterloo in the Western Rural District, to find out the causes of teenage pregnancy.

Speaking to journalists at the Family Kingdom Resort, Rosemond Perry, a Youth Campion from Waterloo, said the roundtable engagement was about a research they conducted on things that pilot teenage pregnancy at Waterloo in the Western Rural district and Murray Town in the Western Urban.

She said teenage pregnancy is an issue that is affecting the country, which was why they targeted those communities to find out the social and gender norms that are influencing teenage pregnancy.

She said their findings includes discrimination of girls in the inheritance of family property, because their families believe that as girls they will one day get married and move in with their husbands.

She said they also established that lack of parental care for girls in the home is also a major contributing factor to the increase in the rate of teenage pregnancy, stating that most parents don’t talk with their children to know their burning issues.

She said part of their recommendations in the research report was the creation of community groups, like parents clubs that will enable parents to come together and chat issues that will guide them on how to take care of their homes and their girls’ affairs.

She said they also recommended for the establishment of community girls club where girls will meet and discuss girls to girls’ issues.

Ramatu Jalloh, Advocacy and Communication Director at Save the Children, said the event was part of the implementation of  their Gender Bizines Project roundtable discussion with government and donor partners implemented by the Save the Children Champions.

She said the aim of the roundtable was for the Youth Champions to present their findings on a pilot research they conducted on teenage pregnancy and child marriage.

She said they selected over 50 Youth Champions in the Western Area and sent them into the field, and that based on the findings they will be able to roll out activities in their communities.

She said the other major contributor to teenage pregnancy is the lack of access to family planning, stating that some of the nursing staff working in the family planning centers are not too good in what they are doing.

She said in terms of trust, those nursing staff are not ethical, a situation she said creates fear on the minds of young girls to use the family planning facilities.

She said the project was to support government to meet its agenda in addressing teenage pregnancy and ensures that the country improves in it maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate.

She said if the issue of teenage pregnancy is addressed, then the issue of maternal mortality and infant mortality rates will be addressed.

Fatmata E. R Ansumana, representative from the Ministry of Social Welfare, said the event was very timely because teenagers and adolescents are very key because they are going to be in charge of the next generation.

 She said as a ministry they are going to ensure that they work with  Save the Children to create a better society for girls.

She said there is no secret that teenage pregnancy is on the increase in the country.

Josephine Jenneh Saidu, Principal Public Health Sister, working for the School and Adolescent Health Program, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, said the engagement was a very good initiative by Save the Children, and that their intervention was very timely because, teenage pregnancy is on the increase.

She said it is difficult for a teenager girl to go through nine months pregnancy and deliver safely because their bodies are not strong enough and yet to prepare for pregnancy.

She said many of them die during  child bearing.

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