He said the District recorded 35 cases of teenage pregnancies between the period of January and May this year, while 24 cases were recorded in 2016.
Mr. Kpebah made this known at a stakeholders’ engagement on preventing child marriage in the Wa East District.
He explained that teenage pregnancy was a major contributor to child marriage and added that it posed a challenge to girl child education.
He also stated that parents gave out their wards for marriage at a tender age due to the prevalence of the culture of relegating girls to the kitchen while disregarding their educational value.
He, however, noted that the directorate was putting in more efforts to intensify sensitisation on girl child education and punishing perpetrators of child marriage and teenage pregnancy to help reduce the menace in the District.
Naa Adama Salia, traditional leader of the Kilangong community in the Wa East District observed that disregard for cultural and religious values regarding marriage was a leading cause of the rampant cases of child marriages in recent times.
He explained that child marriages could also be blamed on the rise in technological development as well as modernity and urged parents and guidance to control the content their wards were exposed to on the televisions.
Madam Mohammed Rafikata, the Wa East District Gender Desk Officer, lamented that the Upper West Region was the second poorest performing Region in combating child marriage, while Upper East Region topped the list.
She explained that the practice was predominant in the rural communities and urged stakeholders to put in stringent measures to curb the situation to enable young girls reach their potentials in education like their colleagues boys.
Miss Seidu Nafisah, a student of the Loggu Community Day Senior High School, who also participated in the meeting blamed the high rate of teenage pregnancy and child marriage on some parental irresponsibility, adding that, it compelled girls to resort to other means such as ‘boyfriends’ in order to meeting those needs.
She appealed to parents to help meet the needs of their children, which would help reduce the incidences of teenage pregnancy and child marriage.
Traditional leaders, religious leaders and women groups in the Wa East District attended the meeting which was organised by the Upper West Regional Office of the Department of Gender with financial support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
By Philip Tengzu, GNA