Lack of funding affecting adolescent health promotion – GHS
Sherifa Mohammed (left), Program Officer, Technical Communication and Adolescent Health, Ghana Health Service, addressing participants. Photo: Maxwell Ocloo
Lack of funding is depriving a significant number of adolescents in the country of necessary interventions to address challenges affecting their sexual and reproductive health, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said.
Although the GHS is mandated to provide accurate health information and comprehensive health services to young people, it is unable to do so due to lack of internal and external funding.
GHS Program Officer, Technical Communication and Adolescent Health, Sherifa Mohammed, therefore called for the establishment of a resource mobilization plan for such interventions for young girls.
She was presenting at a workshop on the economics of adolescent sexual and reproductive health (EcASaRH) interventions in the country.
The workshop, organized by the African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA), was part of adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) interventions in the country aimed at identifying and costing ASRH priority programs to support advocacy for more resources.
Present were speakers from the Ministry of Health (MoH), GHS, UNFPA, UNICEF and researchers.
Among the issues discussed were the costing and validation of EcASaRH project reports.
AfHEA, which is the professional body for health economists and policy makers in Africa, was established in Accra in 2009 to strengthen and improve the efficiency of health systems.
Ms Mohammed said that since 2018 the GHS had been unable to reach many young girls with interventions, such as sexual and reproductive health education and access to support (family planning and contraceptives ), as expected.
“The unmet need for contraception for married and unmarried girls aged 15-19 stands at 36 and 61 percent, respectively.
“Among married adolescent girls aged 15-19, 96.5% have heard of a contraceptive method, but use is very low due to their inability to access support,” she added.
The project’s lead researcher, Dr Ama Pokuaa Fenny, said it was a multi-country program involving Ghana and Senegal, funded by an international development research centre.
She said that until 2021, the main programs that received ASRH funding in the country were capacity building on ASRH and empowerment of adolescents through comprehensive sexuality education.
The Acting Head of the Quality Management Unit at the Ministry of Health, Dr Selina Dussey, said the country has over the years made efforts to advance the cause of ASRH in the structure. basic health care delivery.
For example, she said, the National Population Council (NPC) spearheaded the development of an adolescent reproductive health policy, in collaboration with other stakeholders, which provided general guidelines for implementation of ASRH programs and policies.
“Currently, a new comprehensive strategy has been developed under the Ghana Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition Strategic Plan (2020-20250).
“All of these have contributed significantly to the improvement of ASRH in the country over the years,” Dr Dussey said.
A United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) program analyst, Ishmael Kwesi Selassie, said issues around the high number of teenage pregnancies were a major concern for the organization as they had implications for production overall economy of the country.
“We are working in different parts of the country to prevent child marriage and also to help protect the rights of young adolescents,” he added.
For her part, the NPC’s Executive Director, Dr. Leticia Appiah, stressed the need to develop action plans for adolescent wellbeing.