In an effort to minimize teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality in Liberia, the Officer-In-Charge at the BanjorClinic in Virginia, Montserrado County Madam ChristianaMassaqoui has urged parents to educate their children, especially girls about theimportance of family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
She spoke Tuesday at the National Empowerment Programfor women and girls (NEP) community outreach sponsored by Oxfam in partnership with Action Aid Liberia. Madam Massaqoui noted that teenagers are getting pregnant all over Liberia and it is leading to high cases of maternal mortality.
“Family planning has so many methods which include implant, which is to place medicine under the skin for five years in the flesh,injectable, injection for 3months, and the pills which is required to be taking on a daily basis according to time,” she explained.
She recalled that in he past, families didn’t know how to plan their family and therefore cause them to have so many children, but the new FP method encourages men who have learned about the planning to go for medication to fertilize their sperms to enable make babies by impregnating their spouses.
The OIC added that Liberian teenagers these days do not have protected sex, which is exposing them to so many sexual and reproductive health issues. “Some men don’t support their children, so we therefore need to put ourselves together and take good care of children by providing the necessary education they need and we should do this in closeconsultation with the entire family, including the father,” she said.
For his part, the Project Manager of the National Empowerment Program for women and girls told the participants that sexual and reproductive health issues must be highlighted by everyone in the country, because more women are losing lives during childbirth besides teenage pregnancy.
He urged women to work closely with their husbands in taking decisions about planning their family so that there will be better understanding in homes. On behalf of women in the Banjor Community, Madam Leona Fatimata, promised to take the message across through community engagements to reduce teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality.
“We will have a very interactive community engagement so that women can know how to born their child by taking the family treatment and even the men to join the process and help women and girls,” she said.
The outreach program, which brought together over 75 women and girls, was very interactive in that women appreciated the forum and saw it necessary to educate their children and even themselves to consider planning their families.
Peace Island Community Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Williams added his voice to the campaign, stressing that teenage pregnancy is on the increase and needs quick intervention from government, health workers, community leaders and especially, parents to minimize the risk.
He encouraged the family planning method which he described as very important for both sexes, while encouraging women topracticalizewhat they learned from the outreach by applying the knowledge intheir various homes. He thanked NEP for such an important initiative especially, in the area of empowerment by educating women and girls.
By Ethel A Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne