Politics & General News

Young girls impregnated shocks nation

n 2021, the nation was outraged when 15-year-old Anna Machaya died during childbirth at an Apostolic shrine in Manicaland. Now, more outrage is building as new statistics reveal that 680 girls aged 10-14 were impregnated between January and June 2023 alone. An additional 51,376 girls aged 15-19 also became pregnant during that same 6-month period. Overall, the data shows an alarming rate of child and teen pregnancies in Zimbabwe.
Experts and government officials are deeply concerned by these trends, which they say are a “big indictment” on the country’s values and the breakdown of the family unit. They are calling for comprehensive interventions, including from the education system, traditional/religious leaders, and law enforcement, to address this crisis and protect vulnerable young girls.
Ministry of Health and Child Care director, AIDS and TB Unit, Dr Owen Mugurungi, presented grim statistics of child pregnancies on Thursday at a National AIDS Council (NAC)-organised editors’ workshop in Chinhoyi.The statistics underscore the ongoing challenge of child marriages and pregnancies in Zimbabwe, despite recent legal reforms aimed at prohibiting such practices.
It also came out that of the 680 girls that were impregnated, 0,1 percent of them were HIV positive, while in the 15 to 19 age group, 9,7 percent of the 51 376 were also HIV positive.Overall, Zimbabwe has 1,3 million HIV positive people, with 750 000 being women.
In an interview after officially opening the editors’ workshop on Thursday, Acting Health and Child Care Minister Professor Paul Mavima, said the statistics were “worrying and a big indictment on the country’s values”.
“These are very worrying statistics; these are people who are supposed to be in primary education and should be very far away from parenthood and getting pregnant at that age,” he said.
“It is a big indictment to our values, a big indictment to the family unit in Zimbabwe. Guidance of these learners is supposed to start in elementary education and in families.
“We need to do something as a nation to revive the family unit, including the extended family structures to guide and protect these kids so that we don’t deal with such levels of prevalence of child pregnancy.”

Authorities acknowledge much more needs to be done to eliminate this scourge and ensure girls can safely pursue their education and aspirations.

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