Written By: Emmanuel S.D. Mulbah
The Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Bong County Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia (PPAL) is attributing the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the County to peer pressure while disclosing that PPAL has embarked on a campaign to limit this cause in the county. Students and principles in the county have also attributed the cause of teenage pregnancy to peer pressure.
Annie Togbah said they have trained 45 girls from five selected schools in Gbarnga, Bong County as peer educators in teenage related issues and the importance of family planning. These peer educators will provide more awareness about the danger of teenage pregnancy; they will meet twice a month to discuss matter concerning teenage pregnancy in other to limit the rate of teenage pregnancy in the county.
Miss Togbah said children are found of confiding in their peer groups rather than their parents and guidance on grounds that parents serve as serious embarrassment to their illegal affairs.
Miss Togbah disclosed that PPAL is exerting every effort through Counseling, outreach, radio talk-shows and other means in the communities – towns, villages and market places – in providing free medical services with support from the County Health Team in other to curtail the situation in the County.
The OIC of PPAL in Bong County further said teenage pregnancy has negative impacts on the future of the victims because becoming a parent at age 13 to 17 years caused them not to complete education and as such their responsibilities are fully rested on the shoulders of their parents.
She warns that health condition of these teenagers is often endangered because their bodies are not fully developed to bring forth a child in some cases this might lead to operation or unsafe delivery that may cause serious complication.
Female Student Laments Teenage pregnancy
Meanwhile, an eleven grade student of D. Ellen Harris Baptist High School in Fumah School District says peer pressure is greatly increasing teenage pregnancy in the district and Bong County at large.
She said girls who are exposed to early sex influence the younger ones in schools and communities with money and material things to get introduce to early and unsafe sex that leads to unwanted pregnancy.
The 18 years old student attributed the prevalence rate of teenage pregnancy to the heartless male teachers who sexual exploit their female students in exchange for grades.
She further advice that the only way teenage pregnancy can be curtailed is for teenagers to say no to peer pressure and early sex.
The eleventh grade female student is calling on the Government and its partners in education to inject into the Liberian national Curriculum issues that have to do with teenage pregnancy to enlighten the minds of students in early grades about the danger of the situation.
For her part, the Principal of the Bong Mines Central High School, Mrs. Margret J. Stewart, said peer pressure greatly encourages teenage pregnancy a whole lot because children prefer listening to their peer groups and getting pieces of advice from the street rather than their parents and guidance at homes thus causing children under restriction to be influenced by their peers.
Mrs. Stewart said the negative impact caused by peer pressure is that it exposes the children to early sex and gives rise to unwanted pregnancy thus causing them to drop out of schools and also causing the high rate of illiteracy and poverty in the Country.
The Bong mines central High administrator also advice that in other to reduce teenage pregnancy in the schools, schools’ administrators should create a platform to discuss the negative impacts of the situation in PTA meetings.
She cautioned that if the situation continues the future of the children will become bleak while increasing calls to the government through the Ministry of Health and social welfare and its partners to redouble their efforts and provide family planning services through the length and berth of the Country.