Aug 18, 2011, 4:13 PM
The issue of teenage pregnancy is a cause for concern, and it’s necessary that we draw the attention of the authorities to its diverse effects.
Even though it is well-known that teenage pregnancy carries extra health risks to both the mother and the baby, many girls still continue to give birth at a very early age.
In as much as we oppose early and forced marriage, we are not also in support of girls giving themselves to boys and men for sex as a trade.
In The Gambia, respect for cultural norms and values must be nurtured and adhered to by all and sundry.
Our teenagers need to take care of themselves, and be mindful not to allow themselves to become victims of unwanted pregnancy.
The risks associated with teenage pregnancy are many, and without help young girls may even lose their lives through pregnancy, simply because the body is physically not ready for such a challenge.
If as a teenager you pass through that difficult process, it is not the end of the road, though you might be a school drop-out.
The fact of the matter is that teenage pregnancy is often unplanned and unwanted; it should therefore not be encouraged.
We have seen girls who after delivery are unable to take care of their children, and some of them would end up dumping their children into wells, toilets, etc. because of the stigma associated with it.
Our girls need to be empowered to make the right decisions at the right time. And, if they really decide to have sex, they have to think about what it means, and the implications of having sex at such an early age.
As a way of reducing the problem, we believe parents, especially mothers, should always provide sex education and counseling to their daughters.
Young girls, no doubt, need to know what it means having a baby; what are its social consequences and implications.