• August 6th, 2020

Opinion: Teenage pregnancy policy – a mistake to be rectified!

Tjitjai Handura                                                                                                                    

I was very shocked to read about the alarming figures of teenage pregnancy in our country and I shift the blame on our government. The government is at fault, and it is the one to be blamed here.  As a concerned citizen, a teenage pregnancy victim in the past years, and now peer educator and gender activist, I have decided to share my views on teenage pregnancy. 

First of all, I humbly request the government to revisit its teenage pregnancy policy of allowing pregnant girls in schools. This is so unbelievable, and it is utterly wrong.  What are we saying and what are we doing to these poor girls?  No, No and a BIG ‘NO’ to that policy. This policy is actually telling teenagers that it is okay, go out there and engage or involve in unprotected sexual behaviours.  Again, it is telling teenagers that it’s okay to contract STIs and moreover, HIV/AIDS.  At one hand, we are campaigning for zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS-related deaths, yet you are promoting teenage pregnancy in schools?  Now it is even called a sort of a style or fashion because the teenagers themselves do not see anything wrong with that, since our government is supporting it; they are enjoying falling pregnant.  Everyone, nowadays, wants to be seen pregnant in her school uniform. There is no shame in it at all.   By allowing them to fall pregnant while in school, you are opening another door for HIV/AIDS, mark my word.  We are killing the nation and these poor children.  

They are still in schools because they are not ready to become parents.  Pregnancy itself is a risk for every woman, but for a teenage girl, it is especially high in the sense that this person is still not physically and mentally ready for child bearing.  They are not yet ready to take care of their babies because they are mentally and physically not ready. Even though we feel that the government is doing or has done an honourable deed to allow these girls to attend school, they will never be the same after giving birth. That opening is the key to their adulthood.

How can you even expect that child to register at tertiary institution when she needs to take care of a child or even children if conceived for two consecutive years. I was lucky to have such good parents who took care of my firstborn, whom I gave birth to in 1992 when I was in Grade 10.  But not all of us will be privileged to have supporting parents or families to take care of these babies when we return to school. The situation will force some of these teenage mothers to take care of their own babies/children and, thereafter, even look for jobs to maintain their babies/children. What will happen to the career of this teenager? It will go down the drain!    

This is what our government is doing to our nation.  The government is making a big mistake, and we need to stand up and do something about it before it is too late. We need to totally condemn teenage pregnancy and stop it.   

Let us promote and have awareness campaigns on abstinence and condom use in our schools. Let us rather focus on introducing comprehensive sex education in our schools. If Life Skills teachers are unable to do it (effectively), we have non-governmental organisations such as the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA) operating in our country, under the umbrella body of the International Planned Parenthood Association Federation (IPPF) that can be approached for assistance. 

It is high time that we open our eyes and see opportunities in front of us and utilise them, instead of creating more problems in our nation. Let our government approach this Association and see how the two institutions can complement each other to address this critical issue of teenage pregnancy.  However, I also believe that there are many people out there who can volunteer to be trained on comprehensive sexual education programmes and assist the government in this regard.  

Staff Reporter
2019-11-08 09:01:43 | 8 months ago

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