By ABDUL KARIM HABIB
Prevailing challenges facing the Free Health Care implementation nationwide are being complicated with high rate of teenage pregnancy and poor service delivery in most rural sections in the provinces.
In Futapejeh community health center, Pujehun District, the lack of beds for patients has resulted to infants being placed on the floor to sleep.
“This poor development, coupled with other challenges over the years, is reason for our intervention,” said programs Manager of the NMDHR, Mr. Abdul Karim Habib, after their refresher training of teenage mothers, teenage pregnant victims on economic and income generating held on the 5th January, 2015.
The training was held at Bandajuma sowa for fifteen (15) participants; 5 from Futa pejeh, 5 from Kpanga Kabonde and 5 Bandajuma Sowa.
Mr. Habib said the training was to know how far those that were trained are doing in their local businesses to help them take care of themselves and their babies.
The training topics were: Introduction to income generating and basic concept, General understanding of business and the methods and importance of savings, Experience sharing and Lessons learnt.
He said some of the successes were that out of the fifteen girls that were trained, eight have started small scale businesses and have adopted positive saving habit and are now taking care of themselves and their babies in terms of desperate needs.
Mr. Habib said teenage pregnancy is still on the increase in Pujehun District and implored girls in the district to concentrate in their education rather than getting involved into motherhood at such early age.
“You should learn from the experience of others,” he said, adding that the development of their families, communities and the country depends on their willingness to be better stakeholders in society.
From the outcome of the training, the cause of teenage pregnancy in the district was blamed early marriages.
The project officer of NMDHR in Pujehun, Ms Miatta Kamara, said the challenges are many and that efforts should be put by all stakeholders to address the growing rate of teenage pregnancy in the country.
She said peer pressure and prevailing socio-economic influences coupled with tradition and religion, are still playing greater role in the problem.
“We all have a responsibility to guide our girls,” she said, adding that girls must be made to know that education is vital for their success in life and not early pregnancy.
James Momoh, a resident in Futapejeh, disclosed there are no standard clinics for pregnant women, lactating mothers and infants, adding that there is only one room that serves as maternal ward while children are placed on the floor to give way for other waiting mothers.
16 year old participant and former SS2 pupil, named withheld, said after she delivered her child she pleaded with her parents to send her back to school but that they turn her down claiming she will get pregnant again.
“Presently I am taking care of myself and the baby from the business I am doing and the support of NMDHR,” she noted.