Teenage pregnancy applies to a female under the age of 20, according to World Health Organisation.
While it is a blessing to have a child, teenage pregnancy affects the girl child badly – physically, emotionally, psychologically and even academically.
There are various factors that lead to teenage pregnancy, and these include lack of parental care, peer pressure, desire for a child, low educational levels, poverty and non-use of contraceptives.
Lack of sex education in schools also leads to indulgence in sexual activities without understanding the possible effects.
On the other hand, the media also contributes to teenage pregnancy by advertising and televising programmes, shows as well as playing songs that advocate for sex.
This, at times, make teenagers practice what they see in the media, and girls end up pregnant.
The effects of teenage pregnancy are many and unpleasant.
Besides getting pregnant, the teenage girl and her baby are at risk of being infected with STDs, including HIV/Aids.
Additionally, there are health implications associated with early sex and pregnancies, such as obstetric fistula, infant death, maternal death, eclampsia and cervical cancer.
Other implications come about due to the underdeveloped pelvis of the teenage girl.
It also brings about physical and psychological trauma to the girl, and it makes the parents feel ashamed because of their negligence as viewed by the public.
Lastly, teenage pregnancy has largely contributed to poverty, since the girl is forced to drop out of school to take care of the baby.
It can, thus, be concluded that teenage pregnancy is a problem to the entire society.
It is, therefore, the obligation of every member of society, including religious leaders, parents, teachers and the teenagers themselves, to participate in addressing the issue. Sharp!
* Erastus Ihemba is a Natural Science and Health Education teacher at the Ruben Makaranga Combined School.