Culprits of child marriage to be fined only GH¢500

Persons found to have forced minors into early marriage or impregnated one in the Sisala East District of the Upper West region would be fined GH?500.00 and also made to offer a cow.

Incest is also forbidden in Sissalaland and anyone who committed such an act would pay a GH?1000.00 fine plus a sheep.

These were contained in a communique issued after a child marriage meeting between chiefs and queen mothers and other traditional authorities in Tumu in the Sissala East District.

The meeting follows the increase in teenage pregnancies in the Sissala East District.

Teenage pregnancies reported at health facilities in the district increased from 160 cases in 2016 to 201 in 2017, according to Alex Bapula, the Sissala East District Director of Health Services.

The event was organised by ActionAid-Ghana.

He said the trend of teenage pregnancies in the district stood at 11.1 percent in 2014; 12.4 percent in 2015; 11.9 percent in 2016; and 14.3 percent in 2017 in the period under review.

“Trend of teenage deliveries also stands at 12.7 percent in 2014; 12.3 percent in 2015; 9.2 percent in 2016; and 10.7 percent in 2017 within the same period” the Sissala East District Director of Health Services said.

Mr Sulley Mohammed, Sissala West District Adolescent Health Coordinator, said a total of 295 teenage pregnancies were recorded in the district between the periods of June 2016 to July 2017.

He said there were also 160 deliveries, 15 abortions and 25 Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) while a total of 579 adolescents in the district were put on family planning services.

The communiqué said no chief should support or shield any case of child marriage or pregnancy in their community and that a chief who engaged in such acts would be required to pay GH?1000.00 and a sheep to the community.

Again, no parent should push or allow their teenage pregnant girl to stay with the family of the boy who impregnated her; rather, the girl should be allowed to stay with her parents while the boy takes responsibility of caring for her needs.

Any parent who acted contrary would be fined GH?1000.00, the communiqué said, and urged parents to confiscate mobile phones from their children.

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