Dr. Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has appealed to religious leaders to assist in the implementation of the Ghana Adolescent Reproductive Health (GHARH) project geared at protecting adolescent reproductive health through sensitization.
He said it was not enough for religious leaders to sermonize the adolescents on the need to abstain from promiscuity and other social vices but to expose them to the realities of the social challenges they are bound to face as a result of the physiological and environmental changes in their bodies during the teen and adolescent period.
The assistance of the Priests, Pastors and Imams would augment the efforts of other stakeholders and partners of the Project to achieve its primary objective, the Director-General said.
Dr. Denkyira made the appeal at the handing over ceremony of an Adolescent Health Corner constructed with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) of United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKAID) with support from the Government of Ghana, at Acherensua in the Asutifi South District of Brong-Ahafo Region.
The Adolescent health Corner adds up to 53 others in the Region and they have been located within the already existing health facilities of the Ghana Health Service, to exclusively provide counseling and other services to young people as part of the GHARH Project.
With two in each of the eight Municipal and 19 District Assemblies in the Region, the corners were provided at the cost of GH₵6.00 million covering construction and refurbishment.
The Project principally aims at increasing access to Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) information and services.
It is locally being managed by Palladium, a UK-based non-governmental organization with the National Youth Authority (NYA), the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the GHS as implementing partners, under the coordination of the National Population Council (NPC).
Other activities of the Project are the formation of health clubs for in-school and out-of-school youth under the management and supervision of School Health Education Programme (SHEP) Unit of the GES.
Dr. Denkyira said the Corners would be working closely with traditional leaders and therefore advised parents to urge their children to consciously make effective use of the facilities for them to obtain the appropriate information and counseling services in their formative years.
Mr. Modestus Yao Nuworsu, the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Asutifi South said through the Project 10 adolescent mothers in the District who would have been school drop-outs, had been integrated back to school.
Mr. Nuworsu said adolescent pregnancies in the District had reduced from 0.4 per cent in 2014 to 0.2 per cent in 2015 whilst adolescent abortions had also decreased from 2.4 per cent in 2014 to 0.9 per cent in 2015.
He expressed the conviction that with the handing over of the Corner, the phenomenon of school drop-outs would be reduced to the barest minimum.