Okada Riders accounting for rising teenage pregnancies- Wassa Edwenase Queenmother laments
Teenage Pregnancies is on the rampancy in the Wassa Edwenase community of the Wassa East District. The situation has become so alarming to the extent that traditional authorities have started exploring ways to save their daughters from falling prey to men. Queenmother for the Wassa Edwenase Traditional area, Nana Yaa Ago has attributed the rise in teenage pregnancies to the proliferation of okada Riders and their operations in the community and neighboring ones.
At a workshop held in the capital of the Wassa East District; Daboase, to sensitize traditional authorities, youth groups, and other stakeholders on gender and reproductive health, Nana Yaa Ago indicated that most of these okada riders have sexually exploited their girls, “and disrupted their academics and future.”
In her analysis of what had contributed to the situation, the Queenmother said most of these girls are from broken homes, and some others due to parental neglect. She mentioned that the community has abandoned the puberty rituals due to their ‘unholy’ acts.
She noted that most of these girls are unable to continue their academics and as such end up being dependent on these okada riders, “who cannot guarantee any better future for them.”
“…as a matter of urgency, I have decided that until a girl child completes her Senior High education, I will not perform the puberty rites for her. They will have to wait. And should they flout this, sanctions will be applied,” she warned.
The Wassa East District was among the districts with a high prevalence rate of teenage pregnancies in the Western Region, last year. Learning from which the assembly through its Department of Social Welfare and allied agencies, have made a determination to at least cut down teenage pregnancies, and thus improve the reproductive health of these young girls.