Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, a global partnership of Marie Stopes International operating in 37 countries, providing personalized contraception and post-abortion Care services to women and girls, driven by the mission that people should be able to have children by choice and not chance regardless of where they live, how old they may be, their marital status or economic means have launch the free Back2School 2019 promotion.
Dr. Ufuomia Festus Omo-Obi in his statement explains hundreds of our girls graduate into adolescence. Also, everyday hundreds of these adolescents graduate into puberty, the stage that shows maturity to become
pregnant. Graduating into puberty does not necessarily qualify a woman to safe delivery. It is a social reality, though not any scientific proof, that several of our adolescents today see themselves as matured enough to be sexually active upon seeing their first menses. It has been observed over the years that a lot of adolescents lose their virginity during the long vacation which usually runs from July through the first week of September. Losing their virginity implies being sexually active. Because of peer influence, they don’t necessarily take precaution around their sexual activities as they’re at the mercy of their male partners which puts them at the risk of
becoming pregnant unintended. “Such pregnancies may lead them to either drop out of school or become desperate to get rid of it through the Backstreet which might have severe consequences on the victims.
According to the 2015 Housing & Population Census, young people under the age of 15 years account for approximately 41.1% of the current Sierra Leonean population.” He said.
The Country Director further explains that very large number of our young generation need to have access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, and the knowledge and skills necessary to make adequate, healthy and informed decisions about their lives.
Despite all the government’s pronouncements, young Sierra Leoneans continue to especially face serious barriers to accessing life-saving contraceptives and family
Planning services, including the requisite knowledge about modern methods, as well as negative attitudes of some healthcare providers who discourage use of contraception
among unmarried people.
The Government of Sierra Leone through the National Secretariat for the Reduction of Teenage Pregnancy have developed its National Strategy for the Reduction of Adolescent Pregnancy and Child Marriage 2018-2022 with the overall goal to reduce the adolescent fertility rate to 74 per 1,000, and the percentage of women aged 20 to 24 years who were first married or in union before the age of 18 to 25 percent by 2022.
The Government has also reiterated its commitment to dedicate 21% of national budget to education, to open access to every Sierra Leonean child regardless of gender, ability, ethnicity, religion, or region.