Resources are frequently diverted from routine health services during epidemics, further reducing access to sexual and reproductive health services, as well as maternal, newborn, and child health services.
“We are dealing with a major and pervasive health and social emergency for girls that will have long-term consequences for their futures,” says the report.
17-year-old During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Efua was one of 51 girls in her neighborhood who became pregnant. Even if they haven't caught the virus, the pandemic's effects on their lives will be long-lasting.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked havoc on children, families, and communities all around the world, disrupting crucial services and putting millions of lives in jeopardy. In 194 nations, nationwide school closures have been implemented in an attempt to avert the global health crisis.
School closures during times of crisis can lead to females spending more time with men and boys than they would if they were in school, increasing the possibility of unsafe sexual behavior and sexuarism.
According to statistics, 98 percent of pregnant girls were not in school, and 59 percent of pregnancies among girls aged 15-19 years were unintended. Adolescent girls also accounted for 45 percent of severe abortion complications.
Sexual violence is thought to impact one-third of girls and one-sixth of boys under the age of 18, yet most victims do not speak up or seek help.
In Ghana, more than half of sexually active adolescent females (54%) do not desire to become pregnant and have an unmet need for modern contraception. According to our findings, the majority of teenage pregnancies are unwanted. Girls and young women in Ghana faced significant barriers to receiving vital health information and treatments even before the crisis.
Now, in the midst of a pandemic that is putting even the most robust healthcare systems under strain, there is a genuine risk that sexual and reproductive health and rights may be neglected, with disastrous repercussions for girls and women.
As the government works to contain the spread of COVID-19, it is critical that we address the pandemic's gendered consequences, which are harming children, particularly adolescent girls in Ghana.
“It is critical that the government ensures that movement limitations do not obstruct access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, as well as protection and psychological support.
Governmentsand healthcare organizations should consider including age-appropriate positive sexuality education in online and distance learning packages, as well as continue to educate and encourage communities to embrace sexual and reproductive health-seeking behaviors. Girls and women must be able to leave the house and obtain assistance in person or via telehealth.”
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