Gifty Mensah (2nd left) at the forum
Tina Mensah, Deputy Minister of Health, has stated that government is committed to improving the mental, nutritional, sexual and reproductive health of adolescents in the country.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the programme of Marie Stopes Youth Advisory Board Parliament on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) at Parliament House in Accra, the deputy minister said Ghana’s high teenage pregnancy and adolescent child bearing rates, which is currently at 14.2 percent, is a great concern to the government of Ghana.
The debate on SRHR, which was on the topic, ‘Adolescent Sexual and Reproduction Health and Rights (ASRHR) Financing for Ghana Beyond Aid,’ was put together by the Marie Stopes Ghana Youth Advisory Board.
According to Ms Mensah, the Ministry of Health, through its implementing agency, Ghana Health Service, has also developed adolescent health service policy and strategy to help improve the mental, nutritional and sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people.
“At the recent inauguration of the National Population in March 2019, President Akufo-Addo lamented the high fertility rate among girls who should ordinarily be in school and charged the National Population Council to work with all the relevant institutions to drastically reduce teenage pregnancy,” she said.
She added “we are showing clear commitment to transforming our adolescent and youth human resource into human capital by investing in the three priority areas for human capital development –health, education and employment. These are the guarantees to reaping demographic dividend.”
The Deputy Minister observed that prioritizing adolescent SRHR is a step in the right direction for any government, saying “in the end, our adolescents and young people are our insurance for the future as a country.
“I wish to assure the good young people of our country of government’s support in this regard, and look forward to receiving inputs from the young people themselves today as part of this ‘youth parliament ‘event on how best we can proceed on the journey of achieving ‘SRHR financing beyond Aid.’
Anne Coolen, Country Director for Marie Stopes Ghana, said “if we talk about discussing budget allocation for ASRHR, there could be no better venue for this than the actual parliament house, such that the power of this house may inspire a rich debate, leading to actions that will influence the way government and its partners fund Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights.”
Some of the Senior High Schools that participated in the parliamentary debate include Ebenezer Senior High School (SHS), La Presbyterian SHS, Accra High School and Okuapeman SHS, among others.