Women, especially the young ones, have been advised to get pregnant at their healthiest age for optimal outcomes.
The recommended healthy reproductive age is between 24 and 34 years.
The Executive Director of the National Population Council, Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, also said in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra that about 14 per cent of the country’s population were teenage mothers.
She, however, said that early pregnancy led to severe health problems for both the mother and child, adding that it was a major social and health issue for the country.
The medical doctor and reproductive health expert also said that early childbearing reduced women’s educational and employment opportunities.
According to her, the foundation for the country’s sustainable development depended on a healthy population.
Dr Appiah stressed the need to invest in human capital to accelerate the nation’s development, adding that “the growth of a nation is primarily based on the skills of the youth”.
“It is human capital that will transform the natural capital for use, so if you have a country where your 10-year-olds are giving birth, you cannot be said to have developed intellectually to harness the natural resources,” he added.
Dr Appiah, therefore, suggested that the state should use a portion of the tax revenue to cater for teenage mothers and their children.
Dr Appiah, who received the Order of the Volta (Companion) Award in recognition of her selflessness, hard work and outstanding contribution as a member of the National COVID-19 Task Force, further stressed the need for young girls to develop their self-esteem.
She, therefore, urged parents to inculcate the necessary virtues in their children to build their self-esteem, saying “esteem and self-esteem is from home”.
“Young girls need to have self-esteem, you can be illiterate, but If you have self-esteem you will be better off in whatever decision you may make in your life.
“Young girls with self-esteem do not allow themselves to be treated anyhow because they have a sense of value in them,” Dr Appiah added.
She equally entreated parents to train their young boys to treat girls with dignity, including protecting them from all forms of molestation.