‘Pregnancy fuelling teenage deaths’

teenage pregnancies

GOVERNMENT has been urged to provide sex education at the country’s high schools to prevent teenage pregnancies.

Mpilo Central Hospital medical doctor Misheck Ruwende says teenage pregnancies are one of the major causes of death among teenagers as they contribute 30% of pregnancy-related deaths in Zimbabwe.

“There is need for intense education on safe sex, easy access to contraceptives, condoms in high schools and everywhere. Government, cultural and religious leaders should think deeply about it. It is obviously only a matter of time before everyone accepts the change. Maybe then serious consequences could have already happened including loss of lives and new HIV infections. It is better to deal with the situation early,” Ruwende said.

“Reproductive health services should be available without constraints to those who are affected, and condoms should be easily accessible to teenagers at high schools or other institutions.”

He added: “There is need for safe sex as the problem is not really sexual debut, but the results are teenage pregnancies and new HIV infections. Giving condoms to high schools will not encourage adolescents to indulge more in sex because they are already indulging. The benefits outweigh the moral disadvantages like losing life, and new HIV infections. Parents and guardians should provide menstrual period education and this should be communicated in a way appropriate to that particular age.”

Shamwari Yemwanasikana Advocacy and Research co-ordinator Rudo Magwanyata said: “We need to have policies and laws in place that actually regulate when young people can access information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. We are also of the view that there is need for sex education in schools to educate girls and boys. This helps them make a stand point of abstaining from sexual activities knowing the dangers that come with engaging in sex such as exposure to HIV and early pregnancies.”

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