Ohangwena crisis: 9,077 teenage pregnancies in 4 years – News

The Ohangwena region has recorded a total of 9,077 girls under the age of 19 who became pregnant between January 2020 and April 2024.

The region’s authorities have described the situation as a crisis.

During the same period, 283 pregnant girls under the age of 14 were registered, with the youngest being nine years old.

These statistics were released by the region’s family health program director, Angolo Angolo, during the regional intergenerational parent and youth dialogue in Eenhana on Thursday.

The dialogue was organized by Regain Trust as part of the United Nations Population Fund project.

The program addressed issues affecting school-going youth, such as rape and pregnancy.

Angolo said that the statistics of teenage pregnancies in the region are alarming.

“These are alarming statistics and place the region in first place in terms of teenage pregnancy,” he stated.

Angolo highlighted abandonment by parents and guardians as one of the main factors leading to teenage pregnancy, followed by poverty.

“You will discover that some of these children are housed in shacks near schools and there they do not receive proper guidance, they are abandoned to their fate. This is poor parenting. Children are not advised, even when they are at home with their parents, they live as if they were alone. Parents are allowing children to be the head of the family, because they spend their time running their cucashop businesses or drinking at cucashops,” Angolo said.

Speaking on the same occasion, Adelaide Hamukwaya of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare said there is a need to continue raising awareness on the issues of teenage pregnancy and rape, involving not only government stakeholders, but also to parents and communities in general. .

“Parents should take meetings and awareness campaigns seriously. They do not attend meetings and that is why most of these children who are reported as sexually assaulted, often do so within the confines of their homes, where they should be safe, and are done so by family members. “said Hamukwaya.

Meanwhile, Ohangwena Region Governor Sebastian Ndeitunga said teenage pregnancy leads to an increase in school dropout rates, affecting not only his office but also the regional government.

“The issue of the high rate of teenage pregnancies in the Ohangwena region is worrying and as leaders and stakeholders, we need to sit down and think carefully to find appropriate mechanisms to address this issue,” Ndeitunga said.

A NATIONAL CONCERN

Sanet Steenkamp

Education, arts and culture executive director Sanet Steenkamp says there is a difference between data on teenage pregnancies collected by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, adding that teenage pregnancy is a concern national.

“We analyze the reasons given for children dropping out of school. Teenage pregnancy is a national concern, as are issues of incest, rape and sexual violence. We have seen that children’s sexual debut, their first sexual experience, is at age 13 in Namibia and research has found that it is mainly due to coercion and violence, sexual violence,” says Steenkamp.

“A pregnant child is too much. We have programs that we implement in schools, but it seems like we have to go back to the drawing board,” she says.

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