Ghana needs a redefined age for sexual learning – IPPF Leader

Director General for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (1PPF), Dr Alvaro Bermejo says Ghana need to redefine the age at which young people are introduced to sexual information and learning.

‘You can do this by assessing the number of adolescents who started having sex before age 15 and the number of young persons who had relevant information on sex before they had sex,’ he said.

Addressing the media in Accra after a tour and inspection of some project sites of the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), Dr Bermejo said, reviewing the age for sexual learning would help reduce the high numbers of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies.

‘Speaking to some young people during my visit, I realized that access to information and services on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for young people and unmarried women was difficult and happening too late at a time when they were already sexually active due to stigma and discrimination,’ he said.

He said although
Ghana has a good legal framework on SHRH and women’s health, implementation of the frameworks had not been impressive because SRHR is an area where governments find it difficult to act effectively although those are the formative years.

‘The IPPF will use the experiences gathered from the field visit to inform policy and shape how governments and legislative frameworks can improve the environment on SRHR for adolescents and young people,’ he said.

Dr Bermejo said his visit to Ghana was in line with the IPPFs aim to increase its investments in Africa, at a time when gains in maternal mortality, teenage pregnancy, contraceptive usage, HIV infections in adolescents had flattened in the last five years.

‘In Ghana for example the improvement in addressing these issues is not continuing, so we want to see what is behind this and make the commitment to put that in the right trajectory and how to support the PPAG while empowering the association to become financially independent,’ he stated.

Commenting on the 20-
year mark of the HIV Antiretroviral (ARV) therapy in Ghana, the IPPF leader said ARVs had saved so many lives than the world ever thought, by changing the strategy of HIV in the world.

Dr Bermejo said mobilization of affected communities had changed the way people living with HIV infections have been involved in access to ARV.

He said global health leaders were considering the use of ARVs as a preventive tool for persons who were at high risk of contracting the disease and do not want to get infected.

Madam Abena Adubea Amoah, Director for PPAG, said with the dwindling of global funding for SHRH, Ghana periodically records a stock out in family planning commodities and condoms, hence the rise in teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and HIV infections.

The IPPF is a leading and largest global organization providing sexual and reproductive health services in 142 countries and committed to improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people through its 40,000 clinics across the world.

It also advocates gender equality to ensure that women, girls, and young people realize their rights, have control over their own bodies, lives, and their future.

The Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, ably represent the IPPF in the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency