A health Ambassadors’ Club have been launched at the Cape Coast school for the Deaf and Blind with a call on stakeholders to scale up comprehensive reproductive and sexual health programmes for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
The Health Club aimed at informing and equipping the school children with information about their reproductive health, would help them to make informed decisions concerning their reproductive and sexual health.
It was jointly put together by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Mrs Thywill Kpe, Central Regional Director of the Department of Gender, who made the call, said more often than not, PWDs were not included in programmes aimed at improving adolescent reproductive health.
She said PWDs formed 10 per cent of the Ghanaian population of which young people were included and therefore planning without their interest would be detrimental to the state.
“We are in the era of sustainable development and development of today must take place without compromising on the future. We should be able to create a world where every young person’s potential can be unearthed and developed,” she said.
Mrs Kpe said poor reproductive and sexual health could deprive young ones of their dreams and any initiative to equip them with information about their reproductive health must be lauded.
She expressed optimism that through the establishment of the club, the adolescent could learn on their own to become health ambassadors in their schools and communities and to teach their colleagues to take right decisions with respect to their reproductive health.
She urged young girls to be bold and speak against any form of sexual harassments that they encounter.
Nana Ama Amissah II, Queen Mother of Mankessim Traditional Area, urged the children to join the company of good friends who would give them good advice adding that “you should not take boyfriends and girlfriends at this stage of your life”.
She expressed the hope that the formation of the reproductive health ambassadors club would help the children to educate themselves to know issues concerning their reproductive and sexual health.
The Queen called on teachers and all stakeholders to assist the children to go through the process of adolescent successfully and urged them to ensure that the club succeeded in its efforts.
Nana Amissah further advised them against engaging in premarital sex saying “you must be patient in life. You have to wait for the right time, you may become pregnant or contract sexually transmitted diseases when you start having sex at this time”
Mrs Stella Sackey, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer at the Central Regional Health Directorate, said there is the need for the country to pay attention to its adolescents in order to have responsible adults.
She called on the youth to reduce sexual activities and channel their efforts into more productive ventures to unearth their talents.
Mr Mutaru Goro, Programme Associate at the UNFPA, said all including PWDs have the right to quality reproductive health, hence the need to include them in reproductive health programmes.
He said the UNFPA remains committed in ensuring that young ones make informed choices that would help them fulfil their potentials and dreams.
Mr Setumtee Ametewee, Headmaster of Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind, expressed gratitude to the GHS, GES and the UNFPA for the initiative to address the reproductive and sexual health needs of the PWDs.
He said throughout the world, millions of young girls are being coerced into unwanted sex or marriage which places them at the risk of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion and sexually transmitted diseases.
He said the launch of the club was apt because it would go a long way to educate young PWDS who were sexually active.