File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Teenage pregnancy dropped by 5% since 2014

By Lukhanyo Mtuta Time of article published Oct 5, 2019

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Cape Town - Teenage pregnancy has dropped by 5% since 2014. A recent Statistics South Africa report shows that 11% of the births occurrences  in 2018 were by adolescents aged 10-19 years old.

A total of 1287 children were born to teenagers aged 10-14. The majority of fathers were between 17-25 years old. However, the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2007 provides that consensual and non-consensual sex with a child younger than 16 years is statutory rape.

Founder of Girl Pride Africa Lola Mupotaringa said there are about 300 to 400 teen moms she welcomes at her centre each month, with the youngest being 14 years old.

Mupotaringa said the cause of these pregnancies are a result of socio-economic factors. She said some are raped by their uncles, some are pressured by their peers at school and many of them are not educated about sex because it is a taboo subject in their homes.

In 2014, there were 2 852 pregnant teenagers and 2 143 in 2018 in the Western Cape.

Spokesperson for the Western Cape MEC for Education Debbie Schafer, Jessica Shelver said the department has conducted a number of pregnancy prevention workshops.

“The course content focuses on important topics such as teenage sexuality, healthy relationships, sexting and the emotional and legal consequences of sexting. Also, understanding how to avoid teenage pregnancy, targeted at boys and girls, and the importance of completing high school,” said Shelver.

Mupotaringa said “about 50%” of the girls return to school. Some are disowned by their families with the argument that “if you can fall pregnant then it means you’re grown”. Others are encouraged to start working instead of returning to school.

Wongamele Mafilika, who fell pregnant at 17, said: “I didn’t want to be pregnant but I found out at four months. I didn’t feel pressure at all when I had my baby because I had the full support from my mother”.

Shelver said: “The WCED also has a policy on managing learner pregnancy that is designed to encourage pregnant learners to remain at school and provides guidelines to all concerned to make this possible. The aim of the policy is to ensure that pregnant learners stay at school and complete their schooling.

“The policy recognises that all concerned have roles and responsibilities in this situation, including the school, the parents of the unborn child, and the families concerned. In each case, the principal must discuss these responsibilities with the learner and her parents and must sign an agreement on these responsibilities.”

Weekend Argus

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