GOVERNMENT has expressed concern over the high mortality deaths of infants born by adolescent mothers, amid reports that Zimbabwe’s adolescent fertility rate is estimated at 120 live births per 1 000.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The Ministry of Health and Child Care has since embarked on a study to find out the cause of the deaths in a bid to guide the ministry on its programming targeting pregnant adolescents.
The study, which began in late November ends on January 22, and is targeting Bulawayo, Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces.
According to latest minutes of the Bulawayo City Council’s health, housing and education committee, local authorities in the affected provinces were also participating in the study.
According to the ministry, the specific objectives of the study are to “assess the level of adolescents in Zimbabwe providing provincial and district variation, assess factors that contribute significantly to adolescent pregnancies in Zimbabwe providing provincial and district variation, establish health, livelihoods and social effects of adolescent pregnancies and give recommendations for future programming on reducing adolescent pregnancy.”
The country’s maternal death rate is still one of the highest in the world, despite a noted decline over the years.
In August 2014, Unicef released statistics suggesting that Zimbabwe’s maternal death rate had dropped 36% since 2009, to 614 per 100 000 live births from a whopping 960, nearly topping the list in Africa.
The statistics followed a study funded by the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United States Agency for International Development which researched 17 000 households in every province.