ZIMBABWE has recorded the highest uptake of contraceptives, with teenagers aged between 10-19 years being the most prevalent users, a report has revealed.
According to a National Assessment on Adolescent Pregnancies in Zimbabwe report by the Health ministry in conjunction with Unicef and Unesco, Zimbabwe is the third highest in the uptake of contraceptives at 50,7%.
The prevalence of contraceptive use was highest in southern Africa (52,3%) and lowest in West Africa (5,4%).
“By country, the Chad Republic recorded the lowest prevalence of contraceptive use (5,1%), while Lesotho recorded the highest with 59,2%, Zimbabwe was the third highest with 50,7%,” says the report, which also revealed that 30% of the country’s adolescents were sexually active.
“Five hundred and nineteen of the adolescent girls reported having a boyfriend or a sexual partner, and of these, 30% reported ever having sexual intercourse. Being sexually active increased with age, with only 1% (10-14-year) adolescents reported being sexually active compared to 29% of older adolescents. The median age at sexual debut was 16 years, the middle 50% (lay) between 15 and 17 years,” notes the report.
The report further highlighted that approximately 31% reported to have had forced sex on their first sexual encounter.
In 2019, the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council highlighted that the country was faced with an acute shortage of contraceptives due to procurement challenges.
Zimbabwe has one of the best family planning programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, with a contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of 67% and an unmet need of 10%, which is the proportion of women aged 15-49 using family planning, which is an improvement from 59% in 2010.
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But the CPR could deteriorate if the country continues to occasionally experience contraceptive shortages.