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Liberians Debate: Teenage Pregnancy

By Naneka A. Hoffman

Teenage pregnancy is on the rise across Liberia, affecting girls in school. As a result, most female students drop out of school, reducing enrolment among girl children.

In a recent random interview with some residents of Sanoyea District, in Bong County, The NEW DAWN asked what should be done to curtail the problem that is impeding the educational sojourn of our girls, which could deny them a better future.  

Younger Forkpah

                                         

“As for me, the thing we can do is to advise them and give them family planning medicine because this time children, when you advise them, some of them don’t hear people. When you advise them that having early sex as teenagers leads to early pregnancy, they will not hear us, as long sex business gets in their head. And when we are taking them for family planning, they shouldn’t take five years of pills or implants because five years is not good for a young person.  It’s only good for people who give birth to plenty children. And I think some of them that are educated should go by their menstrual cycle. It will help them because some people say when you give family planning to young people who haven’t given birth yet, it can affect them and stop them from having children. And some of us are not educated about family planning here in Sanoyea District, Bong county. In Sanoyea District here most of the young people that are carrying pregnancies are teenagers; it is giving us hard time. So, people who are educated in science can advise young people to go by their menstrual cycle. I think that is one of the ways to stop the rate of teenage pregnancy. But it’s very difficult for us here.” 

Bill Sylvester Russ

 I think to stop the rate of teenage pregnancy, there should be a lot of training awareness on family planning, mainly on the radio for teenagers. I think it will help to minimize it.”

Delicious Asilton

“For me, when it comes to teenage pregnancy around the country especially, in the rural areas – Sanoyea District where I work, we need to create more awareness on family planning, because the reason teenage pregnancy is on high increase is that most parents are very poor. Parents don’t have the finance to support their children. So, in that situation, they would send their teenagers out to find men so that they will be able to sustain themselves. So, we have to create more awareness because it is out of ignorance, that they do this. We have to educate them and parents to understand that it is not good. Secondly, the Ministry of Health needs to carry out awareness in schools; do advertisements in newspapers and conduct training on family planning to educate our teenagers to avoid teenage pregnancy.”

Augustine Saah 

“The issue of teenage pregnancy, to have it stopped will be a little bit difficult, because our children this time don’t want to be under control. Some of them leave their parents’ house because they don’t want to be under parental care and secondly, because some parents don’t have the financial means to take care of their children. So, most of the children have become breadwinners for the family. And because of that, some parents no longer bear it. Some of them decided to use violence to take them from the street and it will not help us as parents. We parents need to stand strong to talk to our children to go back to school and have some vocational training as well as educating them on the effects of teenage pregnancy. We just have to continue to talk to them and see how best we can get them under control.”

Rashida Vukuyambasu

“The first thing is that our children are not willing to go to school to be educated, because when you are educated and know the effect of you being pregnant at an early age then you will know how to prevent yourselves. But the children that are in school now when the team from the health sector go to schools, telling the girls children about birth control – the good and bad sides to prevent them from teenage pregnancy, they aren’t willing to take the medicine whenever we tell them. The children will say family planning medicine can give them infection so, whenever they go around and get the first and second pregnancies, they will not stop. When you try to talk to them as parents, still they don’t want to be educated from home. They are hiding these days. So, what can be done for the girl children, we need to bring them closer as parents. I think there should be some awareness in communities to tell them about the good and bad sides of teenage pregnancy, maybe they will listen. I have my own children and then my daughter has her own, for that reason, I am unable to finish my education and I have to take care of my children and my daughter’s children so, it is the poverty race we’re in. And it’s bringing poverty on us, and we are just growing inside. So, the government needs to stand strong. The wave of teenage pregnancies in Sanoyea District, more of them are not educated, and because they are not educated to do something, it is on the increase. We have from 14 to15 years old getting pregnant. I think there should be more teenage awareness in school and on the radio.”

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