Senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Regional Institute for Population Studies Dr. Yaw Atiglo has called on the youth to seek reproductive health services where they are available.
He was speaking on the second day of a two-day policy communication and engagement meeting on Urban Development and Reproductive Health Concerns held at the Tomriek hotel on Thursday, March 16th, 2023. The engagement was aimed at sharing findings from a qualitative study titled “Exploring Use, Non-use and Discontinuation of Modern Contraception among Urban Youth in Accra, Ghana”, carried out in some parts of Accra by the University of Ghana Regional Institute for Population Studies. The study sought to investigate the relationship between reproductive health and urban development as well as reproductive health issues among emerging adults in the urban areas of Ghana.
Dr. Atiglo encouraged the youth to also seek for counselling services as needed when it comes to issues pertaining to their reproductive health. He also advised the youth to avail themselves to information concerning reproductive health to raise self-awareness on reproductive health behaviors.
“I would want to encourage young people to seek reproductive health services where they are available. They shouldn’t be shy to approach counseling offices or even reproductive clinics and hospitals for any help they need. Issues dealing with abortion, issues accruing contraception, issues with abstinence, and issues with guidance on responsible sexual behavior youth should avail themselves of the necessary information. Secondly, the youth themselves must seek information and use it; they must be aware of the consequences of poor sexual and reproductive health behaviors and once they are aware, I’m sure they will be able to engage in more responsible sexual behaviors.”
Dr. Atiglo also called on Ghanaians to destigmatize the discourse on sexual reproductive health matters. He believed that by doing so, the youth will adequately empowered to exhibit responsible sexual behaviors as needed.
“I am of the view that the youth need agency and by agency, they should be a resource with adequate information and once they are a resource, I am sure they will indulge in activities that protect them. So first of all, we need to make the information available. Secondly, we have to make reproductive health services available and accessible. Thirdly we should remove the stigma associated with discussion of reproductive issues because once the topic is stigmatized then people don’t talk about it so how well will they be able to protect themselves? Once we destigmatized the discourse on reproductive health, on sexual activities or protection, on family planning then the young people will be empowered enough to be able to take up more responsible sexual behaviors.”
Dr. Atiglo however tasked the government to invest and come out with a clear-cut policy on sexual reproductive health in urban areas. He also called for the reinforcement of the existing policies addressing reproductive health issues by the government.
“Policy formulation and changing policy involve a lot and so as we said there’s no clear-cut linkage between reproductive health and urban development but with our discussions with our stakeholders they have pointed out some ways by which we can improve or bridge this gap and this involves bringing stakeholders together involving all stakeholders, the academia, civil society organization, civil servants, public servants, and even our political growth, there’s the need for us to come together to dialogue for us to be able to carry this forward. Government has to devote a lot of funding to also address reproductive issues. Some policies are in place and there is a need for government to ensure that the existing policies are implemented fully.”