Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla says they are taking a number of measures to crackdown on teenage pregnancy, including reporting cases of pregnant girls as young as 10 years old to relevant institutions.
Phaahla said healthcare workers were now forced to report cases of pregnant girls below the age of 18 years.
The Department of Health and Department of Basic Education have over the last few years complained about the high rate of pregnant schoolgirls.
The Department of Basic Education said recently there were 90,000 schoolgirls who got pregnant every year and this includes girls between the ages of 10 and 14-years-old.
Phaahla, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from EFF MP Naledi Chirwa on 10-year-old girls in health facilities, said they were taking a number of measures to deal with teenage pregnancy.
He said one of the issues was that healthcare workers must report cases of gender-based violence.
The health workers have an obligation to report cases of pregnant girls below the age of 18. Sex with minors is statutory rape.
“It is mandatory that health care providers report any cases of every pregnant woman below the age of 18 that point adverse incidents to social services for further management,” said Phaahla.
He said the maternity unit in hospitals has guidelines in dealing with cases of pregnant girls.
He said part of the work they do is to screen pregnant girls and women for any signs of sexual violence when they come to health facilities.
“During the Antenatal care visit, every pregnant woman, irrespective of age, must be screened for possible intimate partner violence. Every pregnant woman must be screened for mental health problems,” said Phaahla.
He added they refer some of the cases of 10-14 year-old girls, who are pregnant, to the National Prosecuting Authority’s Thuthuzela Care Centres.
The Thuthuzela Care Centres work with other government departments.