Zim records 350 000 teen pregnancies


Harare (New Ziana)-At least 350 000 girls aged from 10 to 19 years fell pregnant in Zimbabwe between 2019 and 2022, an official has said.

Zimbabwe has long struggled with teen pregnancies and child marriages with the country recording a steep increase in such cases among under- age girls during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The rise in teenage pregnancies has been attributed to lax enforcement of laws, widespread poverty, and cultural and religious practices.

Blessing Nyagumbo, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Zimbabwe specialist for adolescent sexual health reproductive told the media that the country recorded a steep increase in pregnancies among girls and teenagers between 2019 and 2022.

“Between 2019 and 2022 there were about 1.7 million pregnancies recorded in Zimbabwe and out of that 21 percent happened amongst adolescents that are between the ages of 10 to 19 years and that translates to around 350 000 teenage pregnancies.

“That tells you how devastating the rate of teenage pregnancies in Zimbabwe is,” he said.

Nyagumbo said sexual reproductive health education in schools had been identified as key in raising awareness and subsequently reducing cases of sexual exploitation of minors.

“One of the preventing strategic interventions that we support as UNFPA is strengthening the delivery of sexuality education in schools.

Those convicted of sexual intercourse or “an indecent act” with anyone under 16 can get a fine or up to 10 years in jail. But most incidents don’t get that far.

Officially launching the state of the world population report 2023 on Thursday, permanent secretary for Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development Moses Mhike said the government was alarmed by the continued rise in teen pregnancies.

He said the information deficiency on sex education in schools was also contributing to teen pregnancies.

“This is very alarming. It tells us that we have a problem as a nation. What we need to do working with the ministries of education is to disseminate the issue of sex education. We need to include these issues in our curriculum to empower our girl child. We also do not want to leave out the boy child,” said Mhike.

In 2018, about 3 000 girls dropped out of school because of pregnancies. In 2019, the number remained relatively steady, rising sharply in 2020 when 4,770 pregnant students left school.

New Ziana

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