‘Poverty fuels teen pregnancies’ 

Source: ‘Poverty fuels teen pregnancies’ –Newsday Zimbabwe

Teenage pregnancy

A SURVEY on teen pregnancies conducted by child rights group, Zvandiri, indicates that 95% of teenage pregnancies were unintended and attributed to poverty.

Speaking about the findings, Zvandiri programmes manager and medical doctor, Billiart Tapesana said: “We have got 95% of young mothers that we are working with whom through research we found out that they did not intend to get pregnant. Most of the pregnancies we are finding in adolescents are unintended.

“Data analysis is still ongoing for that particular study, but the reasons for adolescent pregnancies are namely lack of information about sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), inadequate access to services tailored to young people; family, community and social pressures to marry; sexual violence; child, early and forced marriage, which can be both a cause and a consequence and lack of education or school dropping-out.”

Tapesana said lack of access to contraceptives for teenagers was also among other reasons why there was a spike in unplanned teenage pregnancies.

“One of the highest bars on the report was to do with contraceptives because it’s key to us and it’s one of the SRHR services that we want people to access. We are working with adolescent treatment supporters, those peer counsellors, to remove all the barriers in terms of accessing contraceptives so that we reduce cases of unplanned pregnancies,” he added.

In its latest report, the Family Aids Caring Trust claimed that Zimbabwe witnessed a surge in child pregnancies between 2021 and 2022.

According to the report, between September 2021 and August 2022, over 20 000 pupils dropped out of school after falling pregnant.

At a recent indaba held by chiefs drawn from across southern Africa, it was noted that poverty was the main cause of early child marriages and teenage pregnancies.

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