The Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Bo-Naba Baba Salifu Aleeyarum, has bemoaned what he described as the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the Bongo District.
He said this situation was also breeding child mothers with irresponsible fathers, indicating, “How can a child take care of a child, because most of the boys who impregnate these girls are themselves children, with no income to support the family.”
Bo-Naba Salifu expressed the sentiments at a public forum organised by Pagba Saha (time with women) Foundation, a local Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) operating in the three regions of the north, with support from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), at Anafobisi in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region.
The forum was attended by chiefs, traditional leaders, queenmothers, opinion leaders, assembly members, women, health personnel and some physically challenged persons.
He attributed the cases of teenage pregnancy to the organisation of record dances popularly referred to as ‘spinning’ at funerals and during weekends where the youth engage in promiscuity.
“I tried banning this spinning sometime back but did not receive the support of the people, so I have put it before the assembly to enact a by-law either banning or regulating the organisation of this spinning at funeral grounds and on weekends.”
He tasked parents not to leave sexual reproductive health education to teachers alone, noting that parents had a responsibility to engage their children in such education at home.
Bo-Naba Salifu said gone were the days when it was a taboo to talk to children about sex because of cultural and moral consideration, adding, “We are now in a changing world and if you do not teach the child at home, he/she will learn it from outside with greater consequences.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Pagba Saha Foundation, Madam Sawuratu Alhassan, said the foundation was into the promotion of key family behaviours through media engagement in the three regions of the north.
She said women were mostly taught about their health and how to care for their children. She encouraged women to deliver at health facilities and also encouraged men to accompany their wives for antenatal visits, as well as during delivery.