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The Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana, Her Ladyship, Justice Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood has called for more active interventions that have the power to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents.

Justice Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, disclosed this in a speech read on her behalf by a Court of Appeal judge, Mrs Justice Barbara Ackah Yensu, at the launch of the State of the World Population 2013 Report in Accra.

She noted that “for millions of young people around the world, puberty — the biological onset of adolescence brings not only changes to their bodies but also new vulnerabilities to human rights abuses, particularly in the arenas of sexuality, marriage and childbearing. Millions of girls are coerced into unwanted sex or marriage exposing them to high risk of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and dangerous childbirth”

The Launch, on the theme, “Motherhood in childhood: Facing the challenges of adolescent pregnancy”, was attended by a cross-section of the media, staff of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), representatives of other United Nations agencies in Ghana, Members of the University Students Association Ghana and the Ghana Union of Professional Students, the “Kayayee” Association in Accra and other interest groups.

Mrs Justice Wood concluded her statement by making a call to all stakeholders to contribute to the empowerment of girls to enable them to make informed decisions for a better future. “This can change if we all play our roles well”, she said.

Dr. Bernard Coquelin, Country Representative of UNFPA, stressed that adolescents and youth must be given the opportunity to find solutions to their own problems since they are capable. “Today’s adolescents and youth are 1.8 billion strong and make up one quarter of the world's population.  This group is the one shaping social and economic development in their various countries. They are also the ones challenging social norms and values, and building the foundation of the world's future. We in UNFPA Ghana strongly feel that adolescents and youth must be given the opportunity to find solutions to their own problems. This is a formidable proportion of the nation that cannot be underestimated” he stated.

Dr. Coquelin announced UNFPA’s intention to initiate a mentorship programme with the Chief Justice and other accomplished women in Ghana. The mentorship programme will see women of substance reach out to young people as their mentors to support programmes and interventions that will enhance the latter’s health, education and livelihoods.

The State of World Population report 2013, released on the 30th of October 2013 by UNFPA expounds teenage pregnancy as a huge global problem, especially in developing countries, where every year 7.3 million girls under 18 give birth. According to the report, of these 7.3 million births, 2 million are to girls 14 or younger, who suffer the gravest long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy, including high rates of maternal death and obstetric fistula.

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