New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Young mothers face deadly risks

Young mothers face deadly risks

2022-07-13  Paheja Siririka

Young mothers face deadly risks

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula has said pregnancy and childbirth-related complications are the number one killers of girls, aged 15 to 19, in developing countries.

He added Namibia is one of the countries faced with a huge challenge of teenage pregnancy, which may translate into unintended pregnancies.

Shangula shared the statement at the commemoration of World Population Day and the launching of the State of the World Population Report in Rundu earlier this week.

The State of the World Report for 2022 has indicated that an estimated 121 million pregnancies per year take place in the bodies of women who did not choose pregnancy or motherhood.

He said the Sustainable Development Goals recognise women’s bodily autonomy and gender equality, and the importance of women’s ability to make informed decisions about sexual relations, contraceptives and reproductive health care. 

The use of contraceptives improves health-related outcomes, such as reduced unintended pregnancies, high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortion, maternal mortality and infant mortality. 

It also brings improvements in schooling and economic outcomes, especially for girls and women.  Beyond the impacts of contraceptive use at the individual level, there are benefits at the population level. 

From a macroeconomic perspective, a reduction in fertility enhances economic growth as a result of an increased number of women participating in paid labour.

“In Namibia, contraceptive use among young people aged 15–19 is relatively low – at 24% - while teenage pregnancy remains high – at 19%. Access to information and contraceptives can, therefore, protect young people’s lives. The Ministry is urging parents to discuss sexual reproductive issues with children, guide them and advise them on how to overcome the transition period from childhood to adulthood as well as discuss contraceptive use.

“According to the education ministry, three out of 10 girls in Namibia drop out of school due to teenage pregnancies,” stated Shangula.

He said the highly affected regions were Ohangwena, Omusati and Kavango East, representing 20.2%, 15% and 12.5%, respectively, adding that it is time for action because the scale of the problem demands concrete actions from every Namibian citizen, as the government alone cannot resolve this challenge.

Shangula assured: “The government and stakeholders will continue to invest in research to better understand the cause and consequences of unintended pregnancy and to spearhead contraceptive technologies that reduce side effects, allay women’s anxieties over them and broaden the options available for men”.

The 2022 State of the World Population Report, titled ‘Seeing the Unseen: The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy’, amplifies the latest evidence on unintended pregnancy and its impact on women, girls, households, and societies, countries and global development.

In a speech delivered by United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative Sheila Roseau, UN Secretary General António Guterres said this is an occasion to celebrate diversity, recognise common humanity and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates.  

“We still live in a world of vast gender inequality – and we are witnessing renewed assaults on women’s rights, including on essential health services. Complications related to pregnancy and childbirth are still the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19,” stated Guterres.

This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year, with the anticipation of the earth’s eight billionth inhabitant.


2022-07-13  Paheja Siririka

Share on social media