teenage pregnancy
Pregnancy

Naa Baloree-Zumoh Baligi III, Chief of the Kpare Traditional Area, has enacted by-laws to outlaw elopement and teenage pregnancy in the community to ensure that girls had adequate education.

The enactment of the by-law became necessary due to the alarming rate of teenage pregnancies and elopement cases in the area leading to a high girl-child school dropout rate.

As part of the punishment for violating the by-law, perpetrators are fined GHC1,500.00 and in addition provide some animals and other items, which will deter others.

Naa Baloree-Zumoh III, speaking to the GNA at Kpare noted that teenage pregnancy and elopement in the community impeded girls’ education and development, which necessitated the enactment of the by-laws as a stringent measure to reverse the trend.

He said, “When I returned from Accra and skinned as a chief, about ten girls got pregnant every quarter and most of them were school girls, so I had to bring community elders and opinion leaders together and we arrived at enacting the by-laws to do away with the twin problems of teenage pregnancy and elopement”.

He said, “Now if someone impregnates or elopes a school girl he pays a fine of GHC1,500.00, a sheep and two bottles of schnapps and we are implementing the law, which is working in our favour,” he explained.

Naa Baloree-Zumoh III cited an instance where he had to report some men who eloped a school girl in the community and after paying the fined they were handed over to the Police, the Ghana Education Service and the Department of Social Welfare and “the elopers went through hell” which had served as deterrent to others.

He said two other school girls were eloped during the holidays but were brought back to continue their education after he intervened and allowed the law to work against them.

He said though elopement and teenage pregnancy had not been completely eradicated in the community, the situation had reduced to the barest minimum after passing and implementing the by-laws.

“By this time I don’t think we would have gotten girls to even go to school because when I came home you will have about 100 children starting class one, but less than ten girls will complete Junior High School,” the chief stated.

He appealed to stakeholders in education to help address the issues and advised all to stop using poverty as an excuse and invest in children’s education especially the girl-child other than giving them out for early marriage.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old pregnant second year student at the Kpare Roman Catholic Junior High School has expressed remorse for getting pregnant and pledged to defy all odds to continue with her education.

She recounted how she got pregnant and appealed for help for a safe delivery and to be supported to continue with her education saying, “I want to become somebody in future and help my mother”.

Mr Maxwell Dapaah, the Head Teacher of the school, said the teenager was a brilliant girl in class and described as unfortunate her current predicament and promised to allow her continue with her education after giving birth.

He said there had been rampant school dropout among girls in the school due to teenage pregnancy, saying, “Last term, four girls between 14 to 16 years became pregnant and dropped out of school,” and that he had reported to UNICEF and the Lambussie District Education Directorate to help address the problem.

Madam Mavis Benni, a nurse at the Kpare CHPS compound, told the GNA that men in the community did not allow them to carry out Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), including Family Planning in the community, hence the increasing numbers of teenage pregnancies.

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