Incest, lack of sex education drive teen pregnancies

HARARE – Rape at the hands of relatives and lack of sex education are the major driving factors of teen pregnancies according to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

More than 700 girls aged between 10 and 19, and some as young as nine fall pregnant every year, said the UN agency.

Teen pregnancies are mainly driven by poverty and social cultural factors.

According to the national teenage fertility study, released last week by government and the UNFPA, “…teenage pregnancy remains a huge problem in Zimbabwe with an adolescent fertility rate for women aged 15-19 years at 110 per 1 000 women”.

“This means that one in 10 adolescent girls give birth every year.”

The study was conducted among 7 656 female adolescents aged 10-19 years in all the 10 provinces with an average 750 girls per province.

The study revealed that 72 percent of girls did not use protection during their first sexual encounter, putting them at high risk of falling pregnant.

Rape and incest at the hands of grandfathers, fathers and other relatives is often the cause of pregnancies in girls aged 10 to 14, although there are no official figures, Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said at St Albert’s Hospital on Friday during the launch of the report.

“It is true some of our traditions are strong, we say ‘muzukuru mukadzi’ wotora kamuzukuru kugara pamakumbo ndopamakumbo ndopamakumbo, makumbo (In the Shona culture, female grandchildren are playfully regarded as wives but some go to the extreme and end up sleeping with their grandchildren),” he said.

Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council’s Munyaradzi Murwira said: “A large number of girls are becoming sexually active by the time they reach 19.”

While non-governmental organisations and the Primary and Secondary Education ministry train some teachers about sex education, Zimbabwe has no formal curriculum on the subject, and schools are not obliged to provide it.

Some who are conservative feel sex education encourages children to engage in the act.

Sexual health experts, however, say a key way to curb teen pregnancies is to provide girls and boys with access to family planning information and services, including emergency contraception.

Parirenyatwa said there was need for the re-alignment of policies and legislation such as the Child Marriages Act and the Legal Age of Consent which are yet to be harmonised with the new Zimbabwe Constitution.

The study’s findings revealed that factors significantly associated with adolescent pregnancy were a lack of comprehensive knowledge and poor attitudes towards sexual reproductive health among teenage girls.

“Only four percent of those aged 10-19 years had comprehensive knowledge on pregnancy and 77 percent believed that ‘contraceptive (condoms and pills) use is a sign of promiscuity’, highlighting the need for increased Comprehensive Sexuality Education. – Daily News

Share this:

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

Damian Marley’s deep love for Africa

24th May 2017 Staff Reporter 0

Damian Marley’s 2010 collaboration album with Nas, Distant Relatives is littered with references to Africa’s rich cultural background. During the recording of the album Marley and Nas dug through archives of African music in search […]

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*