Image source: Flickr
The latest figures from the Gauteng Department of Health show that nearly a thousand girls aged between 10 and 14 gave birth
Image source: Flickr
The latest teenage pregnancy figures have raised concern from parts of society, including the chairperson of the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (MPWC), Nkhensani Kate Bilankulu.
“I have noted that young girls, legally underaged girls are getting pregnant. This state of affairs is very concerning. These staggering numbers, released during Women’s Month, what does it mean about our young women and girl-children,” she said.
A written response to questions from the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng, posed to the province’s Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said that 23 226 school girls fell pregnant between April 2020 and March 2021. Another worrying part of that is that 934 of them are between the ages of 10 and 14.
The figures also show that 2 976 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 chose to terminate their pregnancies while 19 316 babies were delivered by girls between the ages of 15 to 19 years.
The teenage pregnancy figures have also placed specific on statutory rape in the country. Bilankulu has called on law enforcement to look into this aspect and arrest those guilty.
“I would like to urge the authorities to leave no stone unturned to act harshly against the perpetrators. There is a legal age for sexual consent, and 10 years old is definitely not the age. I want to see all the perpetrators, be it educators or anyone else, behind bars. I call on the authorities to clearly state how many cases have been opened that relate to teenage pregnancies,”Chairperson of the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus, Nkhensani Kate Bilankulu
The DA is now demanding that the Health, Social Development and Education departments to intensify their campaigns against teenage pregnancy to 365 days a year and to also make teenage pregnancy prevention a priority in the classroom.
“We also urge parents and guardians, as well as different stakeholders to work with government departments to assist in curbing teenage pregnancy – a societal issue that is affecting young girls. Teenage girls should be taught about the consequences of teenage pregnancy and preventative measures to curb this. As for girls who are under the age of consent, they should also be taught their rights in this regard and to know, at no point, is anyone allowed to force themselves onto them,” the party said.