Local authorities in Southeast Liberia applaud the impact of intervention by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with support from the Embassy of Sweden, aimed at reduction of teenage pregnancy in the region.
According to county superintendents and health officers, women and youth groups in Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Maryland and Grand Kru counties respectively, there has been a decline in the rate of teenage pregnancy in the region as a result of the interventions by the Empowered and Fulfilled programme launched in 2017 by the Government of Liberia and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with funding from the Embassy of Sweden.
In separate presentations to a team from the Government of Liberia, UNFPA and the Embassy of Sweden, that had gone on a tour of the region last week, the health teams of Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Maryland and Grand Kru counties said the provision of life skill and sexual and reproductive health information and services to adolescents and young people at various levels under the Empowered and Fulfilled programme has been impactful in the reduction of teenage pregnancy, which is also a major contributing factor to lowering maternal and newborn in their respective counties.They appealed to UNFPA and the Embassy of Sweden to expand the programme to all health facilities and communities in Southeastern Liberia.
According to them, adolescents and young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information through health clubs and sex education in schools are helping girls and boys to talk freely to their peers and parents about their sexuality, life skills, and aspirations.
The current Empowered and Fulfilled Programme supports community structures and health facilities in the four counties with increased capacity to promote the removal of social barriers to young people’s access to sexual reproductive health and family planning services for quality sexual reproductive health and family planning services to young people respectively.
The programme is also working with schools and Community-Based Organization (CBOs) to deliver Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to in and out of school adolescents and youth.
Meanwhile, UNFPA Representative Dr. BannetNdyanabangi and the Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden, Ms. Elisabeth Harleman have promised to strengthen the programme. According to them, the visit to the region was to share experiences and learn from the Programme implementation, management and coordination in the four targeted counties that could be used to improve or scale up the exercise.
At the same time, the Director of Family Health Division at the Ministry of Health Mrs. Bentoe Z. Tehoungue, has lauded UNFPA and the Embassy of Sweden for the effort to reducing teenage pregnancy in Liberia.
Mrs. Tehoungue, who headed the delegation to the southeast on behalf of the Government, said capacity building of institutions and harmonized community structures to deliver quality adolescents and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services in health facilities, schools, and community would contribute to the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths across the region.
Other members of the team include the Director of School Health Division at the Ministry of Education, Mr. Johnson Hinneh, and the Coordinator of Adolescents and Youth Program at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ms. Mawen Morris.