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Teenage pregnancy in the NW rockets

Alarming 41% increase in children aged between 10 and 14 giving birth in the North West.Image: Jennifer Bruce

Alarming 41% increase in children aged between 10 and 14 giving birth in the North West.Image: Jennifer Bruce

Published Jun 28, 2022

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The North West has recorded a 41% increase in children aged between 10 and 14 giving birth in health-care facilities.

In response to a question by the DA in the provincial legislature, the Department of Health (DoH) revealed that they recorded 153 deliveries from girls aged between 10 and 14 from April 2020 to March 2021. It increased to 216 deliveries for the same period in 2021/2022.

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During the same period, the DoH noted an increase of almost 17% in deliveries from girls aged between 15 and 19. Between April 2020 and March 2021, 8 806 deliveries were recorded, increasing to 9 424 deliveries between April 2021 and March 2022.

The DA's spokesperson on Health in North West, Gavin Edwards said the party was troubled by these statistics.

"Teenage pregnancies are a major cause of concern in the province, especially where there are allegations of statutory rape. Pregnancies at such an early age are associated with significant health risks, including complications at delivery and pregnancy hypertensive disorders. Low birth weight, postnatal depression, and anaemia are just some of the other complications in teenage pregnancies," Edwards said.

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Edwards said girls who give birth at young ages are often forced to drop out of school to care for the babies and often have limited access to resources to raise a baby.

"The statistics provided paint a worrisome picture that requires intervention from all stakeholders and stern action against adults who impregnate children.“

Edwards said the DA would demand that the Department of Social Development outlined its intervention measures to deal with this crisis. “We will also request the DoH to provide the locations where these deliveries took place.

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"Through our spokesperson on Community Safety, Freddy Sonakile, we will submit further urgent questions to the SAPS to provide us with statistics of statutory rape cases reported in the periods above and the status of those cases. It will assist us in linking and assessing if any criminal cases were lodged with the police in situations where adults may have abused or raped young girls," Edwards said.

Edwards called for an end to child rape and teenage pregnancies.

"Children must be at school and playgrounds, not in maternity wards. Enough is enough!" he said.

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