Zambia's plan to check schoolgirls pregnancy

Zambia has launched a comprehensive sexuality education to enable pupils access information about reproductive health.

Making the announcement, Education minister Dennis Wanchinga, however, ruled out distributing contraceptives to pupils.

"We are, however, not distributing condoms or family planning to pupils but instead we are educating them through availing adequate information on sexuality," he said.

A report tabled in parliament recently said 15,000 girls dropped out of Zambian schools due to pregnancies in 2016.

More interventions

The report was compiled by the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services.

"...the statistics show that there is need for more interventions that will reduce the number of girl child dropping out of school," the committee chairman, Mr Jonas Chanda, said on state radio.

Mr Wanchinga said cases of teachers sexually abusing pupils were regrettable and warned that the government would take stern action against the culprits.

Zambia's enrolment in primary school has significantly increased and last year government introduced a free sanitary pad distribution in rural and peri-urban areas to keep girls in school.

Escape stigma

Teenage pregnancy statistics in Zambia rank among the highest in sub-Sahara Africa.

An estimated two-thirds of unwanted pregnancies in the southern Africa state end in unsafe abortions.

Some girls were forced into marriage to escape stigma.

Pregnancy remains the leading cause of death for young women aged 15-19 worldwide, with complications at childbirth and unsafe abortion being the major risk factors.

Teenage girls who are not physically mature were at a greater risk of obstructed labour, pregnancy-induced hypertension and obstetric fistula (the creation of a hole between the birth canal and anal area during prolonged labour).

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