An appeal has been made to the government to take bold steps to make adolescent reproductive services free and more youth- friendly.

Mr. David Nartey Tekpenor, Programmes Manager of Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), said this was vital to the fight to bring down the high rate of teenage pregnancy and child mothers.

He noted that many a young people had not been accessing sexual and reproductive health services because of the cost element, concerns about confidentiality and convenience.

He was speaking at a ceremony held in Kumasi to mark the official end of the Ghana Adolescent Reproductive Health (GHARH) Project in the Ashanti Region.

The one-year project, with the goal of reducing teenage pregnancy in three Ashanti Districts – Atwima Kwanwoma, Asokore-Mampong and Kumasi, was funded by UKAid-Palladium Group.

It was jointly implemented by HFFG, an NGO, Ghana Education Service (GES), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana and the National Population Council.

Mr. Tekpenor hailed the project as a success, saying, it achieved six per cent reduction in teenage pregnancy in the targeted areas.

He added that a total of about 7,585 adolescents were reached with accurate information on sexual and reproductive health to aid them to make the right decisions and choices.

He said 633 out of the figure had now been accessing sexual reproductive health services.

Again, 71 adolescents were trained under the GHARH as peer educators and advocates.

The other high point, he indicated, was that “the project has provided adolescents in the project areas with sources of livelihood – they have been equipped with life skills to be economically independent”, he stated.

Mr. Ebenezer Amankwaah, the Regional Adolescent Health Coordinator, announced that 35 additional adolescent and youth friendly centres had been set up in facilities across the region, bringing the total to 60.

He said in excess of 20,000 young people had been patronizing these centres, adding that, 235 service providers had been trained to offer youth-friendly services.

Madam Barbara Spinns, the Adolescent Health Directorate Programme Advisor of the Palladium Group, urged traditional and community leaders to take centre stage in efforts at providing strong protection for the young people.

GNA