Leaders worry over teenage pregnancy in Mbire
The local leadership in Mbire has expressed worry over the high prevalence of teenage pregnancy in the area.
Both the political and traditional leadership in the district says the problem has gotten out of hand and now needs parents, local leadership and the courts to put a stop to the scourge that has deprived the district of its young and put them at risk to
According to village head of Nembire Village Pius Kanyumbu, the problem is rife and more often parents scoffs off the local leadership saying they now have no power over these matters [teen marriages].
“Part of the problem is the deteriorating family values, while parental guidance has been found wanting in many of the families in the areas,” said the village head.
“In other instances we only hear through rumours that such and such a parent has married her daughter to someone, and the cases are hard to prosecute as the families will be protecting each other,” added Kanyumbu.
Kanyumbu blames the advent of cell phones as also the major cause to the rise of the scourge.
Damious Nyombwe from Chematuri village blames the long distances children have to walk to and from schools.
“We have no trace to what happens to our children especially girls. Imagine they have to walk between 15- 20 kilometers every day to get to their schools,” said Nyombwe.
The local Member of Parliament of Muzarabani South constituency Christopher Chitindi concurs with the village head Kanyumbu, the district is the poorest in the district and lags behind in offering teenagers alternatives activities that takes them away from immoral vices.
“Many of the children end up being idle leading to undesirable vices like indulging in early sexual activities,” said Chitindi.
Mashonaland Central leads in Zimbabwe with a high of 28 percent incident rate of teenage pregnancy, the highest in the southern region.
According to statistics revealed in the latest National Adolescent Fertility Study, (NAFS)‘Technical Report 2016’ 1 in every 10 girls aged 15-19 in Zimbabwe falls pregnant every year, the highest fertility rates in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The study reveals that Mashonaland central has the highest figure of teen pregnancy at 28 percent, followed by both Manicaland and Matebeland North at 25.4 and 23.6 respectively.
The study which presents the current status of adolescent pregnancy in Zimbabwe, explains that the drivers of teen pregnancies in the country are emanating from issues related to poverty, lack of knowledge on sexual and reproductive health, educational attainment and early marriage. Adolescent pregnancy also results from coercion and or sexual violence, particularly by older men.