Stakeholders in education, health and academia and some community members in the Tamale Metropolis have attended an inception workshop to build consensus and understanding around the goals and outcomes of the Healthy Cities for Adolescents project to ensure its successful implementation.
The three-year project dubbed: Innovative Adolescent Health Intervention in the Socio-demographically Diverse City of Tamale for Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals in Ghana, was launched this year.
It seeks to reduce teenage pregnancy and school drop-outs while increasing access to adolescent-friendly sexual and reproductive health information services for adolescents aged 10 to 14 years and 15 to 19 years in the Tamale Metropolis.
It is being implemented by the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana (UG) in collaboration with the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly (TaMA), Ghana Education Service (GES), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), and the University for Development Studies (UDS) with funding from the Botnar Foundation.
Dr Margaret Badasu, Senior Research Fellow at RIPS, UG, who explained the content of the project during the opening of the two-day inception workshop held at Tamale on Wednesday, said it would contribute to a reduction in early marriages and early child-births in the Tamale Metropolis.
Dr Badasu said this would ensure that a lot more pupils would be retained in school where we will have at least 50 per cent of girls going beyond junior high schools to senior high schools.
The population of Tamale, according to the 2010 population and housing census, stood at 360,297 out of which 36.7 per cent was below 15 years.
The various partners on the project including GES, GHS, PPAG, UDS and TaMA, who are already on the ground doing a number of programmes, will intensify their activities by featuring issues of adolescents to them, use innovative media platforms to reach out to the young people to ensure healthy living and well-being of both in-school and out-school adolescents.
Dr Badasu said there would be more information to communities on balanced diet and how to prioritise adolescents for nutrition and other health requirements to ensure their well-being.
She advised partners on the project to be careful about how they engage young people by respecting community interests and desires for young people bearing in mind the objectives of the project.
Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Ahmed, Acting Coordinating Director of TaMA, expressed the commitment of the Assembly to ensure a successful implementation of the project to promote the welfare of adolescents in the metropolis.