"Fifty-four students between 14 and 19 years tested positive for HIV in the Tema metropolis between January and September this year."
Fifty-four students between 14 and 19 years tested positive for HIV in the Tema metropolis between January and September this year.
Thirteen others aged 13 to 19 also tested positive for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and have since been put on counselling and treatment.
According to health officials, children between nine and 10 years had become sexually active, but they were unable to take precautions owing to the lack of sexual education.
The Tema Metropolitan Director of Health Services, Dr John Yabani, disclosed this at an outreach programme on adolescent reproductive health and national health insurance services in Tema yesterday.
It was organised in collaboration with the Tema Metro Office of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and GIZ, with a number of stakeholders in the health sector attending the programme.
During the programme, new subscribers were registered onto the NHIS, while opportunity was also given to old subscribers to renew their cards.
According to Dr Yabani, the statistics were alarming and required the needed urgency to prevent increased infections among students in the metropolis.
He attributed the rise in STI infections to the break down of families which had left many children being raised by single parents.
He pointed out that the health directorate had put in place a system by which community health officers would undertake house-to-house counselling and testing.
That, he said, was to ensure early detection for appropriate actions to be taken.
He expressed concern at the seeming disinterest in adolescent health issues by parents and other relevant stakeholders and stressed the need for community and opinion leaders to scale up sensitisation to curb infections.
The health directorate, he emphasised, had also engaged the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the formation of sports clubs in schools within the metropolis.
That, he pointed out, could be used to engage students and young people periodically, especially when fun games were organised.
Dr Yabani tasked parents to engaged their children and teach them about the consequences of unsafe sex.
The Tema Metropolitan Manager of the NHIS, Nii Borkettey Bortey, said the outreach programme had become necessary to afford managers of the scheme the opportunity to identify the challenges subscribers faced.
He said officials had mapped out plans to decentralise new registration and renewals by creating registration centres in communities across the metropolis.
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