Mr Nelson Bonsu, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA), has called for concerted efforts to tackle the growing and disturbing trend of streetism among children in the country.
He expressed concern that the influx of foreign nationals from neighboring Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, flooding the streets of Kumasi, Accra and other urban centers remained a serious national security threat.
Mr Bonsu made the call at the opening session of a day’s stakeholders’ national consultative forum on reproductive health education for young people, held at Abesim, near Sunyani.
“It is very disturbing that some parents pushed their children to flee for alms on the street. The sad aspect is that many of these innocent children are born and raised on the street, and we must take decisive action to reverse the trend, ”he stated.
The NYA in collaboration with the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG), with funding support from the West African Health Organization (WAHO) organized the forum.
It was attended by representatives from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVSSU), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES), Department of Gender, Traditional Authorities and Religious Bodies and aimed at identifying and tackling challenges confronting adolescent people in the country
“Some foreign nationals keep arriving on the streets of Accra and Kumasi, due to political instability and other reasons in their countries. A new generation of Ghanaian people are being born and raised on the street.
“We must therefore come together, share and collect views to enable the nation to tackle this menace proactively. These are young people born and developed on the street and in fact the government is much concerned about this disturbing phenomenon, ”Mr Neslon indicated.
In a speech read on her behalf, Mrs Abena Adubea Amoah, the Executive Director of the PPAG, said the world’s population was at an all-time high with 1.8 billion people aged between 15 and 29 years.
“Yet the potential to reap the demographic dividend and secure a happy, healthy and prosperous future for all could be dashed by challenges like unequal access to health and education, including reproductive health,” she added.
Mrs Amoah regretted that the young people of today were faced with more difficult living conditions, which had worsened with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The youth are faced with limited access to services that enhance the quality of reproductive, less empowered with self-esteem and confidence to demand their rights, challenged with many socio-cultural practices that reinforce patriarchal structures and practices that are inimical to the realization of their full potential, ”she said.
Mr Emmanuel Akoto, the Director of Programs and Service Delivery of the PPAG said young people needed a nationally acceptable program that would enable and empower them to access age appropriate and culturally sensitive and scientifically accurate reproductive health information and education with improved channels of linkages to service .