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Teenage pregnancies spike in Hwange

Ndlovu told Southern Eye that the high rate of teenage pregnancies in both Hwange urban and rural was a cause for concern.

HWANGE Local Board Junior Council chairperson Maud Ndlovu has lamented the increase in teenage pregnancies in the district, urging stakeholders to intensify the fight against the scourge to protect the girl child.

Ndlovu told Southern Eye that the high rate of teenage pregnancies in both Hwange urban and rural was a cause for concern.

“The continuous rise in early sexual initiation in Hwange is very alarming. Over the years locals used to think it was the influx of haulage truck drivers, but now we are no longer having as many trucks as before, but the problem is persisting," she said.

According to PLAN International, adolescent pregnancies are a global issue and most often occur in poor and marginalised communities.

 “I am strongly encouraging girls to desist from early intimacy as it has many repercussions and all of them have a negative impact on their academic careers and future. There is a need for community leaders and authorities to play an active role in fighting the teenage pregnancy scourge because it has killed the future of numerous girls and there seems to be no end to this immorality,” she said.

Ndlovu also noted that the risky sexual behaviours were linked to increased sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.

She, however, applauded the government for allowing pregnant girls to continue with their schooling, although their concentration levels are likely to be compromised.

“Of course, the government has allowed girls to go to school while pregnant, but their focus will have already been disrupted. They will be forced to look after themselves well while also being under the care of parents as a child. It's not an easy task," she said.

The Education Amendment Act of 2020 paved way for the re-entry into school of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers, but indications are that the girls are facing stigma when they return to school, especially in rural areas.

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