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Gold Fields Ghana Limited (GFGL) Tarkwa Mine has ended a four-day training programme on adolescent reproductive health and hygiene for 58 pupils and their teachers from 11 Basic Schools within its operational area.
The beneficiaries were drawn from Tarkwa-Nsuaem and Prestea Huni-Valley Municipalities both in the Western Region.
The programme was aimed at promoting good sexual and reproductive health and rights as this is a critical prerequisite for human development, particularly for the adolescent girl.
Participants were taken through topics such as, menstrual cycle management, personal and environmental hygiene, Sexually Transmitted Infections, values and assertiveness, as well as dealing with peer pressure and effective communication.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Mr Robert Siaw, Regional Community Relations Manager, GFGL, revealed that statistics in the two municipalities on adolescent pregnancies was very alarming.
He said, "between January and June, 2021, 901 girls were reported to be pregnant with Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality recording 537 of pregnancies. This is unacceptable and requires urgent attention".
"In our quest for brick and tiles structures, we lose sight of these very important issues in our society. Gold Fields Ghana is, however, different, we try to live up to our pledge of being the leader in sustainable development and therefore pays attention to every fact of life in our host communities, hence we decided to organize this programme", he said.
Mr Siaw noted that employing the peer education strategy would help in the promotion of healthy lifestyles to the adolescents who are transitioning from childhood to adulthood.
He said this stage in the life of an adolescent comes with changes in their bodies which exposed them to various undesirable behaviours that needs the support of all stakeholders, added that, the collaboration between Gold Fields, the education and health directorates was very important.
He emphasized that many young girls and boys outside the schools in their communities also required a helping hand for their wellbeing to facilitate a better future.
He acknowledged the efforts of the pupils for volunteering to take on the mantle to educate their peers and urged them to make a difference in their respective schools and communities.
"To the teachers and head teachers, the success of this programme depends largely on you. Please provide these peers educators with the needed assistance to make them succeed" Mr Siaw said.
Madam Mary Vida Koffie, Municipal Education Director of Prestea Huni-Valley, expressed appreciation to GFGL Tarkwa Mine, facilitators, peer educators and all those who dedicated themselves for the programme.
She charged the participants who were now role models to share what they had learnt with their peers, siblings and other family members.
"We have to sustain this programme so our school based health coordinators should ensure that those who complete Junior High School will be replaced by retraining some of the pupils. Adopting this strategy will keep the programme running and more children will benefit from it" she said.
The Municipal Health Director of Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Mrs Caroline Effah Otoo, on her part said, "pregnant women who report to our health facilities 10 percent are girls between the ages of 14-18 years and they are supposed to be in school but this is where they found themselves".
"This training is timely and l am hoping in the next two to three years we will see a drop in teenage pregnancies that are reported in our health institutions", she added.
Nana Adarkwa Bediako III, Gyasehene of Apinto Divisional Council, thanked Gold Fields Ghana Limited for assisting its host communities constantly and called on the pupils to implement what they have been thought to help reduce teenage pregnancy in the two municipalities.
The peer educators who were presented with school bags, sanitary pads and other items expressed their appreciation to GFGL Tarkwa Mine for the opportunity to serve their communities.