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Let’s make our cities healthy for the adolescent – RIPS

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The Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), UG, has celebrated the World Health Day with a call on government to provide healthy cities for the well being of the adolescent so they could grow to impact positively on national life.

The celebration, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the RIPS, was on the theme, “Our Planet Our Health,” and also featured a commemoration of Menstrual Health Day with the focus on Ashaiman.

In a statement during the ceremony on Thursday at the St. Augustine Catholic School, Ashaiman, the            Project Co-Director of Healthy Cities for Adolescents (HCA)-Ghana Project, Professor Stephen Kwankye observed the need not to pass the mistakes of the older generation to our children, “But make sure our cities are healthy which has so many benefits for our adolescents.”

Prof. Kwankye said the issue of menstrual health hygiene “is often seen as a trivial matter, but constitutes an important aspect of girls ability to progress in their educational pursuit,” therefore society must begin to give it the focus it deserved.

The professor indicated that, this was so because menstrual issues did not only affect girls but also boys and addressing it would have a positive impact on the development of adolescents in general.

Prof. Kwankye therefore called on policy makers to ensure that menstrual health issues were considered in decision making so that the right infrastructure were put in place to make the adolescent lived healthier lives.

He bemoaned how poor decisions went into policy by saying, “We have a situation in which schools are constructed without toilet facilities, and sometimes, even when there are toilets, we don’t have water running in them.

“We need to pay attention to this aspect of our health and observe that menstrual health hygiene has a major role to play in ensuring a healthy city for our adolescent,” he added.

The Co-Director observed that as we fight all the challenges that confronted the adolescent in the cities which included school dropout, drug addiction, etc., we should also make sure their health was taken seriously to make them live complete lives and pursue their dreams.

The Former Government Statistician, Dr. Grace Badiako, in a remark on RIPS 50th anniversary, observed that the youth constituted an important segment of the world’s population and a large percentage of this population came from sub-Saharan Africa.

“Therefore, in our attempt to develop Ghana and Africa, we must address the problems that confront the youth which is vital to achieving success for the continent,” Dr. Bediako said.

Dr. Bediako indicated that prioritizing adolescent health helped to prepare towards the sustainable development goal three of the United Nations, which was to ensure healthy diet and wellbeing of all ages which would make mankind live better lives.

The Ashaiman Municipal Director of Education, Mr. Clifford Heneku Budu, in a brief statement, observed that most girls did not have adequate information about menstruation before their first issue which affected how they dealt with menstrual health hygiene.

Mr. Budu called on all stakeholders to come on board to help create the rightful environment for “our girls to feel healthy in our society.”

In a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Rashid Tanko, an official of the Ashaiman District Assembly (ASHMA), the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Ashaiman, Mr. Albert Boakye Okyere hinted that adolescent years were the most challenging of the human life cycle and therefore ought to be taken seriously.

“It is so delicate a period, that, if not handle carefully, has the tendency of ruining a person’s entire life… Don’t let menstruation stop you, box ahead and forge forward,” he urged the girls.

In an attempt to assist the girls go through the stress that came with menstruation, the MCE said his outfit had provided capacity for stakeholders on their role in promoting adolescent health, and had supplied Iron and Folic Acid supplements to about 2,371 in-school girls this year, observing the preparedness of the assembly to respond promptly in ensuring that the youth lived healthily for the development of the municipality.

Healthy Cities for Adolescent is one of the flagship projects of the Regional Institute for Population Studies, and this program was one of the many activities being organized as part of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the institute.

As part of the commemoration, students from selected schools in Ashaiman treated the gathering to numerous cultural displays and drama which depicted the challenges that confronted the adolescent.

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