-2,865 are between 10 and 14 years old
By Thelma Naa Anercho ABBEY, Accra
Data from the Ghana Health Service District Health Information Management Health System (DHIMS) shows that an estimated 109,888 teenagers in Ghana aged 10 to 19 years got pregnant in 2020.
Out of this, 2,865 girls who got pregnant were aged 10 to 14 while the remaining 107,023 were between the ages of 15 and 19.
The 109,888 teenage pregnancies recorded in 2020 represent a 11.7% decline over the 110,285 cases recorded in 2019.
Ashanti – 17,802
The Ashanti Region continues to register the highest number of cases, with some 17,802 teenagers getting pregnant in the year 2020.
Eastern – 10,865
This is followed by the Eastern Region, which recorded some 10,865 cases.
Central – 10,301
The Central Region, which saw a decline in the overall number, recorded 10,301 cases of teenagers getting pregnant.
Northern – 9,249
The Northern Region followed with some 9,249 cases.
Greater Accra – 9,018
The Greater Accra Region saw some 9,018 teenage pregnancy cases.
Western – 8,533
The Western Region, which had some 8,489 cases in 2019, increased its cases to 8,533 in 2020.
Upper East – 6,533; Volta – 6,144
The Upper East and Volta regions recorded 6,533 and 6,144 pregnancy cases respectively.
Bono East – 5,741
Some 5,741 teenagers in the Bono East Region got pregnant.
Bono – 4,478
A total of 4,478 teenage pregnancy cases were recorded in the Bono Region.
Oti – 3,970
The Oti Region also saw 3,970 teenagers visiting the hospital with their pregnancy bumps.
North East – 3,780
The North East Region also recorded some 3,780 cases of teenage pregnancy.
Western North – 3,750
The Western North Region also saw an increase in the number of cases as the data indicated that about 3,750 teenagers got pregnant, a figure higher than that of 2019.
Upper West – 3,583; Savanna – 3,516
The Upper West and Savanna regions also followed with about 3,583 and 3,516 cases respectively.
Over the years, a number of studies have found that the effects of teenage pregnancy on the mother, family and the nation can be devastating.
Effects of teenage pregnancy on the child
Research indicates that children who are born to teen parents are less likely to ever reach their full potential. Researchers indicate that teen parenting is likely to hinder a child’s social and emotional wellbeing.
It has also been found that teenage mothers tend to be harsher in their parenting practices than their adult counterparts. These young girls are more prone to yelling and spanking.
Since they have fewer life experiences and coping mechanisms, it is harder for them to deal with the frustration that may arise when caring for a new baby.
Effects of teenage pregnancy on the mother
Some studies on early childhood development also indicate that teenage mothers are less likely than older mothers to engage in emotionally supportive and responsive parenting.
They tend to have less knowledge about child development and effective parenting, and often misjudge their infant or toddler’s ability to adapt and learn.
Teenage mothers are also noted to show depressive symptoms or persistent stress from other sources and this can increase the feelings of anger and resentment.
Effects of teenage pregnancy on the family
Members of the family will also have to spend lots of time and unbudgeted money towards taking care of newborn babies for their teenage mothers.
It also places social pressure on families when a baby is suddenly brought into the mix.
They now have to do with the snide comments, the sneers and innuendos of their neighbours.
Even though families get over it in the long run, the initial trauma that they go through is real.
Effects of teenage pregnancy on the nation
Teenage pregnancy does not affect the mother and her family alone; its high rate also weakens a nation’s economic conditions.
According to The Urban Child Institute, the prevalence of births to adolescent mothers negatively affects high school graduation and increases unemployment.
It is worth knowing that without a high school certificate or its equivalent, people have greater difficulty securing quality employment and have lower earning potential. This could have a domino effect in the area of crime and social vices in later years.
Also, a less educated population and unskilled workforce can negatively affect the economy and make it difficult for communities to break aggressive cycles of poverty and crime as resources are consistently depleted.
Teenage pregnancy is a serious epidemic that affects people and the nation as a whole. However, a good upbringing based on social and emotional skills will help teenagers make better choices in adulthood and decrease the probability of searching for love in the wrong places.
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