Youth Parliament urges MMDAs to provide funding support for ASRH programmes
The Upper West Regional Youth Parliament (UWRYP) has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and members of parliament (MPs) to provide funding support for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) programmes and activities to promote education and awareness.
This was contained as a recommendation in a research report conducted in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region by the UWRYP.
At a press briefing to disseminate the findings of the research, “Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region: A Synthesis of Research Evidence” on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, the UWRYP called on the Wa East District Assembly (WEDA) and Office of the MP to allocate a share of the common fund to support ASRH activities in the district.
The study, funded by Plan International Ghana, was conducted in the Wa East District because it “has always been in the news for issues of ASRH” as a measure to respond to the menace.
It was, among other things, to examine parents’ responsibilities in providing basic needs of adolescents, access DA and office of MP’s commitment to providing adolescents basic reproductive health needs as well as identify the capacity factor of health facilities in carrying out interventions on ASRH in the district.
A sample of 300 respondents, comprising 150 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 and parents, guardians and relatives of adolescent girls, participated in the research.
Also, seven key informants purposively selected from the District Assembly, Health and Education Directorates including the Gender Desk Office and the Planning Unit among others also participated.
The study was conducted in selected communities within the two main Area Councils (Bulenga and Funsi) through multistage and convenient sampling techniques.
The Speaker of the Upper West Regional Youth Parliament, Rt. Hon. James Baba Anabiga, told the press that “The inadequate funding for adolescent sexual and reproductive health programmes and activities has been the major factor influencing the sexual behavior of girls in the Wa East District.”
The study revealed that DA and office of the MP were not providing funding for ASRH programmes and activities whereas majority of respondents strongly agreed that the DA and office of the MP should allocate funds to activities of ASRH.
It also indicted that the WEDA was not undertaking adequate programmes and activities to promote ASRH issues.
According to the study, 57 per cent of parents do not provide basic needs of their adolescent girls even though they are aware it was their responsibility.
Rt. Hon. Anabiga said the failure of parents to provide these needs was a major drawback to the healthy growth and development of the girls as they “would go the extra mile to engage in sex for cash.”
“Despite increasing access to information adolescent girls receive at the household level, the majority still have low levels of appreciating consequences of early sexual life,” the study reported.
The report recommended that the government and the private sector should undertake projects that would help create awareness and build the capacity of adolescent girls on their SRH.
“There is the need for the government of Ghana to introduce a free sanitary pad policy to help meet the needs of adolescent girls”, the study recommended.
Mr Anabiga said such intervention by the government would help reduce the vulnerability of the girls to men as their over dependence on men for those items would reduce.
He explained that the Youth Parliament would hold stakeholder engagements in the Funsi and Bulenga Area Councils in the district where the study was conducted as well as a parliamentary sitting on the report to further advocate support for the adolescent girls.
The UWRYP has over the period engaged in advocacy and stakeholder dialogues to protect the rights of adolescents and this research has been its first independent data collected on the topic for further evidence-based advocacy.