Family planning patronage surged among adolescent girls in the Tema Metropolis as the maritime hub recorded a rise in the number of teenagers enrolled onto the reproductive health services in 2019.
A total of 1585 adolescent girls aged between 10 and 19 years accessed family planning services showing 1,011 increase over the 574 recorded for 2018.
This was contained in the annual adolescent health report of the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate available to the Ghana News Agency.
Adolescent health providers in the various public health centres and adolescent corners in the Metropolis had indicated that putting sexually active adolescents on family planning would help reduce teenage pregnancies, criminal abortions, and their related issues.
pregnancies that family planning prevented included complications of pregnancy and childbirth, maternal mortality, unsafe abortions, and low birth weights as well as other socio-economic effects.
However, the statistics from the Health Directorate revealed that while there was a spike in the family planning among the teenagers, adolescent pregnancy also increased from 497 in 2018 to 511 in 2019.
Unsafe abortions among the group also moved from 74 in 2018 to 85 in 2019 while maternal deaths saw a decrease from two to one respectively.
Mrs Grace Eddy Amewu, Adolescent Focal Person at the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate, explaining the record jump, said a number of the adolescents opted for the family planning due to the numerous education on the need for them to delay childbirth.
Mrs Amewu added that due to unavailability of such services at the pharmacies, they often visited the hospitals for it to be administered to them, revealing that most of them went for the injectable, implants and IUD.
She further revealed that the figures for the adolescent pregnancy could be more as the records only catered for those who reported for Antenatal Clinic (ANC) at the various health centres saying some of them did not visit the facilities at all.
On the number of abortions recorded, she said it was possible to have higher abortions among them as it was a known fact that they usually terminated the pregnancies in the communities and only reported to the hospital when complications set in.
“They usually do the abortion in the community and it’s just a few who run to the facility to complete the abortion if they are at the verge of dying and these are the ones we have in our records”.
On whether putting the adolescents on family planning would not lead to increase in HIV and sexually transmitted diseases among them, she said there was a probability, adding however that her outfit was still encouraging them to either abstain or make use of condoms since being on family planning does not protect them against such illnesses.
The Tema Metro has an adolescent population of 48,087 with Tema Manhean accounting for 20,120 of them.