“Rate of Teenage Pregnancies a Cause for Concern”
The rate of teenage pregnancies remains a cause for concern, and unacceptably high, with some of the districts in Mashonaland Central Province recording 25 per cent.
Teenage pregnancies remain a social problem in the province, Dr Rudo Mari-Masanganise Provincial Maternal and Child Health Officer, asserted. She said:
This has been a problem in our province. Some of the reasons that may be alluded to this issue, particularly Mbire District is one of the districts with the highest numbers of teen pregnancies.
Despite recent economic growth and social progress on a number of fronts in the country, perceived determinants of teenage pregnancies include, lack of knowledge on how to avoid pregnancy, lack of community responsibility, media influence, cultural beliefs that promote early marriage, and pressure to contribute to family through early marriage.
Dr Mari-Masanganise attributed the substantially higher numbers to some of the villages being close to game parks, COVID-19 lockdowns and small scale miners causing high school drop-out rates. She said:
In the first quarter of 2021, eighty-six girls under the age of sixteen registered their pregnancies between January and March, whilst 157 girls under 16 were delivering at our health institutions.
Younger girls who get pregnant are not really keen on coming to the health facilities because they might fear that their partners will be arrested or stigma for a teenager who is just pregnant
We have also come up with various programmes such as health talks at schools to teach all students about adolescent sexual and reproductive health and community forums to engage with them so that they may feel more inclined to seek services at hospitals.
Hopefully when we continue with these programmes they will come in and be able to prevent these pregnancies.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 16 million girls are aged between 15 and 19 years and about one million girls younger than 15 years give birth every year.
source | Ministry of Health and Child Care
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