Omusati experiences high teen pregnancy

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Nuusita Ashipala

Ongwediva-The Omusati Regional Governor Erginus Endjala is gravely concerned about the alarming figures on teenage pregnancy which constitute about 80 percent of births recorded at the Outapi District Hospital on a daily basis.

The governor said the labour room is frequented by young mothers between the ages 15 to 24 years.

About 15-20 babies are born on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the Omusati Education Directorate records show that 457 learners fell pregnant at school last year.

Of the 457 learners the lowest figure was recorded in grades five and seven where nine learners fell pregnant in each class, while the highest figure was recorded in Grade 9, where 120 pregnancy cases were reported.

Grade 8 is next in line with a whopping 81 cases, while the rest of the grades ranged between 68 and 12.

Endjala said such high figures of young mothers giving birth is an indication that sexual education remains a taboo in the community, which needs to be addressed with urgency.

“We cannot continue to shy away from educating our children on sexual matters – the figures are evident that our children are sexually involved,” said Endjala.

Education Director in Omusati Region Laban Shapange said that while teenage pregnancy is a concern it should be noted learners do not fall pregnant at school but outside school.

“The fact is that our community is shy of talking about sex and condoms with the children,” said Laban Shapange.

He said teenage pregnancy is a result of many other factors in society such as child-headed households and traditional practices in some communities in the region.
“But above all it is the abuse of rights as many children are not disciplined and as a result refuse to take their parents and guardians’ advice,” said Shapange.

Shapange said the region is committed to fight teenage pregnancy through reaching all children with education (RACE) and special education programmes to sensitize leaners on sexual issues and the dangers thereof.

Equally, the office of the director will this year embark on parental sensitization programmes on sexual education and all other issues hindering education in the region.
The acting director of health in Omusati Region, Esra Kavela, said there could also be children younger than 15.

But, he said, many of these young mothers are usually from Angola, where arranged marriages are still practised.

Kavela could however not confirm the figures as he is currently not in office.

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