The media has been urged to advocate for sex education to be included in the school curricula. This will address the issue of teenage pregnancy particularly among girls in basic schools.
The Executive Director of Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana, YHFG, John Kingsley Krugu, who made the call at a media engagement in Bolgatanga, said countries where sex education is part of school curricula, those countries have made tremendous progress in the area of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health.
It was therefore incumbent on the media as key partners in development to impress on policy makers to make sex education part of the country’s educational system.
Mr. Krugu disclosed that the media has the power to influence policy decisions; hence the need for them to set the agenda and push forward policies that can improve the lot of the youth particularly teenagers.
Mr. Krugu said though the media has played its advocacy role in addressing the issue of teenage pregnancy, research has shown that knowledge and information sharing are not enough in changing people’s perception and behaviour towards Adolescent Sexual And Reproductive Health.
He said the media has a critical role in diffusing certain perception that seem to suggest that when children are exposed to sex education, they are likely to lead promiscuous lifestyles.
He said in as much as they want the media to play the leading role in advocating the inclusion of sex education in schools, YHFG in collaboration with other child rights NGOs has engaged the Curriculum and Research Unit of the Ghana Education Service on the issue.
Mr. Krugu was hopeful that the unit will consider revising the current curriculum and table it at the policy level for approval.
Presenting the state of adolescent health situation in some selected districts of the region, a staff of YHFG, Akagwire Urban, echoed the need for the media to help nib teenage pregnancy in the bud before it gets out of hand. Statistics showed that 169 cases of pregnancy among teenage girls in Junior High Schools, JHS, were recorded in Bongo, Talensi and Nabdam districts with Bongo recording the highest of 88 cases from 38 JHSs.
Last year the district recorded 18 and 22 reported cases of HIV and AIDS related conditions for males and females, while the Talensi district recorded 18 cases of gonorrhea in 2012.
This Mr Akagwire called for urgent attention to address the situation.
He said the media engagement, was significant considering the critical role it plays in the dissemination of information to the general public.
The engagement was used to showcase YHFG’s FLASH programme, which is a comprehensive sex education manual for health teachers