Outrage over Health ministry’s move on child contraceptives

THE move by the Ministry of Health and Child Care to distribute contraceptives — including condoms and birth control pills — to children as young as 10 years old, has sparked outrage from parents and other adults interviewed in a snap survey yesterday.

REPORT BY EVERSON MUSHAVA

Most of those interviewed said the move would encourage children to experiment in sexual activities and also lead to child prostitution and child pregnancies and disease that the move sought to curb.

Government officials were quoted in the media at the weekend confirming there were already as many as 91 centres where distribution of contraceptives to adolescents was taking place around the country.

In interviews with NewsDay yesterday, most people said the move was counter-productive, but some adolescents defended the idea saying there was nothing wrong with children having access to contraceptives since they were already sexually active.

Shylet Maravanyika (50), a cross-border trader, said the move would encourage premarital sex and prostitution and resultantly, the spread of HIV and Aids in schools.

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“This is wrong; totally wrong,” Maravanyika said. “We cannot accept this. Instead of giving pupils contraceptives, there should be a sustained effort to educate the pupils about the importance of abstinence. Pregnancy itself is a deterrent measure. Pupils should be taught that not only do they get pregnant through unprotected premarital sex, but that they could also get infected with various diseases including HIV and Aids.”

Maravanyika said people should go back to tradition where parents took a leading role in educating their children about the need to abstain from sexual activities when they are minors. She said condoms should never be allowed in schools.

Regai Mutinima (30), another Harare resident, said if girls were to be given an “open cheque” to indulge in unprotected sex because they had the protection of contraceptives, the result would be a high prevalence of HIV transmission.

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“Pupils should be taught to abstain. If they are given birth control methods, they will indulge in unprotected sex and contract sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and Aids. They should not be allowed to be indulging in sexual activities at all while at school,” Mutinima said.

He said it was also important for pupils to be taught the Bible so that they would know that God does not allow premarital sex.
Cephas Dungwa (61) said he was personally against the idea of allowing pupils access to contraceptives.

“This would be permitting prostitution. Such a law should never be allowed in the country. It will encourage prostitution,” Dungwa said.

 

But schoolchildren who spoke to NewsDay yesterday said they welcomed the move to distribute contraceptives to children, saying sexual activity among schoolchildren was a reality.

“It is real. Schoolchildren have sex especially when they are out on sporting or other school activity camps where they spend days away from school or home,” said a teenage girl who is in Form Four. “We are only afraid of pregnancy and we welcome the move (to distribute contraceptives). We prefer pills or injectables because condoms are not 100% safe.”

Princess Amajouyi (19), from Bulawayo, said instead of allowing pupils access to contraceptives, government should find the reasons why adolescents indulge in sex. She said the decision to give contraceptives to pupils would create more serious problems than it would solve the issue of pregnancy. She said more and more youths in Bulawayo were indulging in sex especially after school because they were unemployed.

“Otherwise, we will create more complex problems (by distributing contraceptives to adolescents) like Aids in a bid to reduce pregnancy,” Amajouyi said.

She said some contraceptives if used at a tender age could cause complications when one needed to have children in future. Some contraceptives, like flavoured condoms, she said, caused cancer and other problems.

Nomagugu Sibanda (19) from Tegela, Bulawayo, said youths should be empowered for them to shun sexual activities arguing that the use of contraceptives was not the solution, but part of the problem.
The director of family health in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Bernard Madzima, was quoted in the State media over the weekend saying “authorities took the decision following a sharp increase in teenage pregnancies and a high maternal mortality rate”.

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According to the report, the ministry is already pushing for more distribution centres for contraceptives such as birth control pills, implants, injectables and condoms to adolescents between 10 and 24, most of whom are school-going, as a way of reducing cases of child pregnancies.

At law, it is an offence for an adult to have sexual relations with minor children below the age of 16.

See also: Child contraceptives – has enough education been done?

55 Comments

  1. tambaoga shirichena

    The principles of effective counseling posits that total abstinence is the key to effective combating of teenage pregnancies, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases (STI), HIV/AIDS infection and other opportunistic infections. In the process of providing contraceptive and condoms to children as young as the age of 10, is destructive on our morals. Legally and ethically speaking, children below 18 years cannot make informed decisions and this conduct puts our vulnerable kids at risk of astonishing dangers. May the powers that be rethink on this move.

    1. Mazimbabweans ngatimukei tive busy open this link muzvionere http://www.yournetpay.com/index.php?refcode=1700

    2. A policy with complex social ramifications such as this one should not be foisted on the public by a morning newspaper. This is very wrong. There is need for in-depth consultation, social discourse, analysis and controlled implementation. Some of the reasoning defies logic. Should we open smoking rooms at schools because children are already smoking – or sell alcohol to them because they already drink anyway.

    3. Asi Nhai Dr parerenyatwa hamuna 1week mu office mato tanga your mad policies from yesteryear last time it was cholera now its HIV if the law makes it criminal to hve sex with an under 16 and u r now giving them contraceptives so they hav sex with who so u r condoning the breaking of the law so u sir and your ministry are liable.u can’t accuse someone of statutory rape wen the kids are walking around ready to have sex coz u gav them contraceptives it is on your head mr parerenyatwa.the west tried it and look how messed up there are.full of ndinoziva is your undoing.

    4. The health ministry is doing its job, avail necessary preventive measures where parents have failed their children to the extent that 10 years olds do as they please. This is a reactive approach. Parents should deal with issues of morality and get their kids to abstain. If that is sustained, then the consumption rate of such products will go down and the ministry will have no reason continue supplying. Such measures are usually guided by research which informs policy and its currently a reality, 10 year olds are doing it. If such age groups consume these products, then the health ministry should continue to provide.

  2. mwari pindirai, zvotourayirwa vana takatarisa,my 10 yr old daughter on contraceptives zvakaoma, we believed in abstinance and no sex before marriage,inga nyika yoenda kumawere takatarisa chokwadi,this is totally wrong

  3. ma sugar daddy will have a field day if this is implemented…i pray its a lie

  4. I m urging all Zimbabweans wherever we are to diligently seek divine intervention on such an antichrist act.kana tisati tatanga kunamata ngatichitosungai dzisimbe tibatanei ticheme kuna Mwari.Chokwadi tosiya here hura hwedu huchiturikwa pachigutsa hudyiwe nemagora takatarisa, hazvigoni.This is a real spiritual warfare fightingth our nation, GOD HELP US!

  5. This policy is photo copied from South Africa where parents here do not have any control of their kids. I believe in Zimbabwe, we have some control and to issue out contraceptives is the way to wrestle that control from parents and teachers.
    When condoms started to be given to kids here in SA, I thought that was moral decadence and I vowed my son, 13, would bout set foot in a South African school. I don’t think I was saying he doesn’t know about them (condoms) then. All I was saying was that I don’t want him to see it as a moral right.

    I urge the ministry to scrape th policy forthwith or let the Ministry of Education and Culture decide on it. The latter is likely to recommend a different approach. We should also at ways to identify those adults that abuse girls of under sixteen. As is the new policy now, I think you are contradicting a clear law for child rape. Imagine I produce evidence in court that the minor provided me with condoms instead.

    I sum this by saying you are betraying us as parents.

  6. Who is leading this ministry,that person must not be right upstairs.

  7. Hatitenderi zvakadaro Mwari pindirai

  8. The family is the first institution where moral values should be taught.This is a sign of the endtimes,where we encourage children as young as to indulge in sexual activities knowing there are contraceptives.Is there any success story where this has been done.What are the statistical figures warranting this development.Where is God in all this.

    We want empirical evidence if 2% have been impregenanted should we corrupt the minds of 98% by introducing these measures.We have said no to homosexuality and we say no to this as well.

    Its getting worse in Southafrica,with all these measures.If you want to change a nation we should change how they think.The real prison is in the mind.We need to teach our children moral values.We can not delegate our duty as parents to a policy or legislation.We can not do something because a protocol was signed somewhere,just like homosexuality this is out of order.

    Give us the statistics to warrant this move in Zimbabwe,what is ok in Britain does not necessarily apply here.Just because Pharmaceutical companies want to dump their products here making money and intoxicating our children with drugs at an early age.Ini handidi nemwana wangu if it means withdrawing her from these formal schools I will.

    We will have our own schools for Christians!.

  9. mari yemacondom nemapills ngaitenge imwe mishonga vanhu varapwe .. kwete kuda kukonzeresa so…. this is outirght bullshit. we got morals muno hatina kufanana nenzenza dzekuSA …

  10. parents whilst enraged at the thought of their young children accessing contraceptives should know that these health officers are speaking from an informed position as they deal with such issues on a day to day basis.believe you me there are 10yr olds engaging in such activities as we speak and thus health authorities are only seeking their protection and well being.

    1. In that case let them also legalise alcohol at that age; in fact drugs as well. Because children are drinking and doing drugs at a very tender age!! What nonsense!! There should be stricter rules being implemented so that the number engaging in these acts is lowered next to zero. When I was of that age it was something that happened but was never condoned making our moral standard remain high and safeguarding children from resultant psychological trauma emanating from early sexual activity. Lastly the Bible teaches values which are right and Godly. Let us restore its position in schools and colleges.

  11. Saka imimi vanhu vakuru munoti veMinistry vakarota vana venyu vachiita bonde, ndokuita policy iyi?? Nyaya iripo is simple, kids are coming kumaClinic complaining of tummy pain, toita pregnancy test toshamiswa isu vakoti. Baba naMai havazive mwana wavo akuziva bonde kare. Ino inguva yakaoma, isu tonoda kuti vasatapurirane zvirwere uye vasaunza vamwe vana vasingachengetwe. Mhuri dzaparara, vana vapanduka, haisi mhosva yedu vakoti.

    1. Please don’t make such policies, that have far reaching consequences, for the whole. country. By the way, Dr Parirenyatwa, were you voted by the people? Please respect us. Endai nema condom enyu kuma Avenue mupe zvipfeve.

      I am saying NO to that decision. I am saying No to our kids being indirectly told that sex is good if only we can prevent this and that. Sex in itself isn’t good for kids at all and thus what we should preach.

      I am now nbeginning to see how a fish rotes from the top. It all started with the government losing credibility and now the whole society is rotting.

    2. iwe shamwari hapana arikuramba kuti zviri kuitika but introducing such a policy will help open the floodgates. inoita sodoma negomora nyika iyi. we wuld rather deal with isolated cases of this nature pane kuzotambura dzimba dzese dzave netubaba netukadzi twe10 years.

  12. isu ma sugar daddy we are all for this move because it will be a grate benefit to us all those who say it is wrong just better keep ur lovely young daughters locked up because tinovada zvekuti.

  13. @samson and Nhamodzenyika
    I agree with your mentality, because hunhu hwenyu anamukoti hwakangodaro-darowo, thats why you suggest such a thing!!!

  14. Papa Ve Africa Yese

    Nomagugu Sibanda ka hevy bhebhi!

  15. Kana mafunga izvozvo mochitongoita zvese neabortion seS.A. Its free in gvt hospitals as long iri less than 3months uyezve maARV moita awande nekuti in S.A 34.8% of pple living with AIDS vana vechikoro.

  16. the government has no choice, abstinence is nmot working, people are having sex from as young as 10

    1. Mwana wako wawaregerera ndiye ari kuita izvozvo. Dont generalize.

    2. abstinence kana ichiramba irikuramba kumba kwako not with everyone else.

      1. Saka kana kwenyu ma ducks ari in a row pakurera vanasikana venyu, why are you so paranoid kuti they could be so easily derailed in their principles by a simple pill on a window? Which means anga agara achadonha chete ka. Apa better hamuchareri kamuzukuru kasina baba.

    3. I hope you are not speaking from experience, you haven’t raped a minor, have you?

  17. Here is another sad examples of “Copy-and-Paste” kind of policy formulation which is typical in Africa. Lets think Zimbabwean and lets try and fix our problems the African/Zimbabwean way. Flooding kids with condoms and contraceptives is teaching them to indulge in what is wrong but providing them with a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    Carelessness as a culture is what kills generations across the whole world. Kids with condoms, contraceptives are very careless kids and soon enough they will perish..

  18. iwe Parirenyatwa, ipa vana vako kana vazukuru vako ma10yr old macondom nemapiritsi acho. yu have now realised kuti vana venyu vari oversees vapanduka mave kuda kukanganisa vedu. vangu NO NO NO, ndaramba!!!!!!

  19. The idea itself is not wrong in my opinion, but the PR yashandiswa is poor. The communication of this should be better managed. To those against, consider that contraceptives do not work instantly but require planning, usually 2 weeks in advance. Now, from what i understand, most girls who end up sexually active at a young age are either enticed or coerced into it. Rarely do they plan 2 weeks ahead that on such and such a day i will sleep with so and so. This then rules out the idea that these contraceptives will encourage non-sexually active girls to become sexually active. Rather, these contraceptives will be of use to girls that one way or the other, have already fallen into the sex trap at an early age and are fortunate to not have fallen pregnant already. They no longer need to rely on luck, but can now plan. Bottom line, if your teenage daughter is not sexually active, thank your spirits and keep doing the good work of discouraging her and educating. However, if there is the possibility that she is active, then at best hope she has access to contraceptives to prevent the dreaded pregnancy. As for HIV, if she has failed the abstinence hurdle, chances are she will fail the condom hurdle sooner or later as we all know(if u dont know this, then u r not qualified to comment here). In this case let us limit the infected ones hence to her and him, no infected babies or dumped babies please. Not to mention fatherless ones and the havoc it causes on family economics. This policy will be appreciated by the pragamtic, the romantic will totally not understand. But hey, we pragmats cant wait for you romantics whilst stricken babies are proliferated!

  20. As a person who works for an organization that deals with youth sexual reproductive health l trul applaud this initiative because as it is HIV prevalence rate stands at 3,3% and 6,9% of male and females respectively for youths between 15 and 24 years of age.the truth ladies and gentlemen is that youths are engaging in sex and that’s a fact.this can be one of the methods to curb the spread of STIs and Aids.

    sex education for youths molds them to be better adults at it puts all the support tools for them to make better life decisions.

    To all youths visit a youth freindly clinic near you and make the right choices

    1. @mmoyo

      Uri kutaura zvekubasa kwako, this is how you feed your family by making other peoples’ families immoral!!! Now as pointed out above, what do you suggest we do with youths alcohol and drug abuse? Its already there so we make sure they use rizzla with filters so that they dont lung infections?????? Anyway, since you applaud it, give your daughter FIRST!!!

  21. kana makuda kupa vana vadiki macondom that means you are rewriting the bible … , no sex before marriage is wat it says even tho they are doing it its wrong . so jus because this sin of lust has taken a firm grip on our youth doesnt make it ok…if young pple are dying nekutapurirana chirwere so be it .. because the wages of sin is death..

  22. DIABOLIC! DIABOLIC!! Stop this nonsense before its too late.Please, reserve your energy Doct Pari for meaningful projects.

  23. Give my kid a contraceptive and be sure to stand in Court defending yourself against that move.

  24. A bad apple tree does not yield good apples.

  25. I think it is about time! its is a much needed thing. Did our grandmothers not get married at 12 and have babies at 13? They certainly did.So evidently the need to have sex 10 or when puberty hits is pretty normal. I spend much time with the aforementioned age group and I can certainly tell you, girls will be sharing stories of sexual encounters at school and certainly at Sunday school. So I commend the government if they pursue the policy. Its certainly better to take preventative measures than have to deal with teenage pregnancies and teen death due to abortions. This is not a religious issue! Zim is a democratic country, a 10 year old and 30 year old should have the choice whether to use a contraceptive or not.

    1. I have shared stories with people who smoke crack but I have never thought it wise to legalize it; that is because I am not an imbecile!

  26. Seriously? They asked school kids if it was ok to shag each other? Since when do they have a say? Is it not a crime to have sex with a minor? If so then why is the same government considering this demonic concept? Parirenyatwa must resign!

  27. Did the Minister actually pronounce that as government policy?

    1. It is being debated and I am guessing someone from the ministry proposed it; that is enough to show the minister has no control of the ship!

  28. From the report it seems older pple r d ones against whilst skul kids hve welcomed d idea saying wth or wthout condoms,skul kids stil hve sex,whats d best approach.Does preaching abstinence only work??

  29. i thot This ZANU Gvt was supposed to b Conservative upholding the Zimbabwean/African Principles n Standards.. Just shows how 2-faced they r… Theres more to come u ain seen nun yet…kkkk

  30. Vanhu motaura sezvinonzi Zim is a morally upright country vana vari kuita sex heee no sex before marriage mavirgins mangani ari muZim zviri kuitika whether munobvuma or kwete

  31. Madness seem to have gripped the minds of the chefs. They preach and teach us to respect preserve our African culture traditional values.
    They scoof at western countries for lack of culture and yet they inwardly envy their life styles.
    Is this the reason why 70yr old illiterate senators were picked into the senate.
    D.Parirenyatwa you must really look east at countries like India and see if they have a demonic mind like yours. You are not African at heart to even think of this. You are now showing how incompetitive you are why you it is said you destroyed PGH-and always alliniated with corrupt thugs. Why cant you use that money for renovating gvt hospitals or something instead of wasting taxpayers money by thinking like a spoilt child. We need men,men who listened and learnt from elders. Please we need a referendum on this. Hauna kusarudzwa kuti uite zvaunoda asi zvinoda vanhu.

  32. Ndochii ichochi chamurikutiitira mahumbwe chaiwo. So u think a condom prevents s.t.is and unwanted pregnancies it is the right mentality and not the former use of these contraceptives that u should credit with the solution. Maybe we have failed as parents in other areas of child rearing let us be objective on this issue no to this morally crooked scheme let’s nip it in the bud Zimbabwe is God fearing country children need our protection as parents. Accessability of contraceptives has not helped lower the prevelance of HIV among adults how can the reverse be true among minors?

  33. This goes to show how Africa will always sellout to get ‘Western Aid’. I attended workshops which ‘consulted’ school kids on the issue where no parents attended and the NGOs claimed to have heard the ‘voice’ of children.The funders of such programmes like Save The Children want us to take the views of children as always informed.I know very well the demonic spirit behind such NGOs.But Zim is also led by Masvikiro like Dr Madzima of the gushungo clan.We are talking of a doc who was once suspended for being drunk in the operating theatre.In short the nations of this world are in wrong hands masquarading as christians in the universal cult called Roman Catholic.All hope isnt lost however for Jesus shall surely reign.I have a dream

  34. The health ministry is doing its job, avail necessary preventive measures where parents have failed their children to the extent that 10 years olds do as they please. This is a reactive approach. Parents should deal with issues of morality and get their kids to abstain. If that is sustained, then the consumption rate of such products will go down and the ministry will have no reason continue supplying. Such measures are usually guided by research which informs policy and its currently a reality, 10 year olds are doing it. If such age groups consume these products, then the health ministry should continue to provide.

  35. Please adults let the kids also enjoy the sweetness of the big banana. Why do you always want to enjoy by yourselves.

  36. Are we telling the children that we have failed them and its better to succumb to the deafeat and provide a so called “protective way” of doing an unjust act. I say to you no no we can’t negotiate with a problem if it means these minors will learn thru seeing sme victims of these dreadfull deseases and teenage pregs then so be it . Let’s not negotiate with divil his way into our way of life, no

    Ndatenda hangu

  37. And remember our success is not measured by how many teenage pregs bt by the frequency of sexual activities amongst our minors be reminded that its not the results that counts bt the actual act itself let’s not give up on our little ones folks . Given those circumstances we mght as well have mbanje smoke zones wre everone is allowed to smoke mbanje bt only in those areas.

  38. our Govt in Britain is promoting the same degeneracy in the uk.
    Good to see decent people opposing this lunacy.

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