Youth Forum: ROJALNU Gambia on the campaign: ‘Yes to the choice and no to the choice’

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Is it a matter of must or first is a great question to answer.

In this generation, especially in The Gambia, the rate of immorality and teenage pregnancy is increasing rapidly. 

The campaign introducing the concept of family planning to the mind set of young people is a good one, as they are among the most vulnerable in society.

The main target for the campaign is school children around the Greater Banjul Area. The introduction to this campaign is based on explaining the significance of sexual reproductive health, SRH, which is the complete physical, mental and social well-being of an individual, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.

The major challenges of SRH are STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), teenage pregnancy, Female Genital Mutilation or cutting, substance abuse (alcohol and drug abuse).

STIs are infections that are causing most illness in the world at large, and reminds of an epidemic in all societies. The higher risk of catching these STIs is among young people, homosexuals and heterosexual men and women.

Family planning, child survival, and girls’ education contribute to lowering fertility, transforming the population age structure, and opening a window of opportunity for economic growth.

Improving child health services allows more children to survive and leads to couples desiring smaller families.

Increased investments in family planning will prevent unintended pregnancies, leading to fewer births per woman and it also encourages girls to stay in school through secondary level, and enables them to delay early marriage and childbearing and have healthier families.

The highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world is in sub-Saharan Africa, where women tend to marry at an early age due to regional influence or even traditional beliefs.

Pregnancy complications and childbirth is the leading cause of mortality in teenage mothers. Daughters of teen mothers are more likely to become teen mothers themselves, compared to mothers who had a child at age 20-21.

It is mostly caused by peer influence, curiosity, lack of information about their SRH and parental guidance. Complications of pregnancy result in the deaths of an estimated 70,000 teen girls in developing countries each year. Teenage pregnancy complications can result to caesarean section, eclampsia, fistula and death.

“Planning for the future is better than wasting a life.” 

Author: Rose Zahra Gomez