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Ohangwena crisis: 9 077 teen pregnancies in 4 years

Written by on May 21, 2024

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

The authorities in the region have described the situation as a crisis.

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

These statistics were released by the region’s chief health programme officer for family health, Angolo Angolo, during the regional intergenerational parents and young people dialogue at Eenhana on Thursday.

The dialogue was organised by the Regain Trust as part of the United Nation’s Population Fund project.

The programme touched on topics that affect young school-going individuals, such as rape and pregnancy.

Angolo said teenage pregnancy statics in the region are alarming.

“These are alarming statistics and they place the region at number one where teenage pregnancy is concerned,” he said.

Angolo highlighted neglect by parents and guardians as one of the main factors that lead to teenage pregnancy, followed by poverty.

“You will find that some of these children are put up in shacks to be near the schools and there they don’t have proper guidance, they are left to themselves. This is poor care from the parents. Children are not advised, even when they are at home with their parents, they live as though they are on their own. Parents are allowing children to head households, because they spend their time either running their cucashop businesses or they are spending time drinking at cucashops,” said Angolo.

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

“Parents should take awareness meetings and campaigns seriously. They don’t attend meetings and that’s why you find that for most of these kids who are reported to be sexually assaulted, it is often done within the confinements of their homes, where they should be safe, and it is done by family members,” said Hamukwaya.

Meanwhile, Ohangwena region governor Sebastian Ndeitunga said teenage pregnancy leads to increased school drop-out rates, concerning not only his office but the regional government as well.

“The issue of the high rate of teenage pregnancies in the Ohangwena region is concerning and, as leaders and stakeholders, we have to sit down and think very hard about finding appropriate mechanisms to address this issue,” said Ndeitunga.


Sanet Steenkamp

Executive director of education, arts and culture Sanet Steenkamp says there is a difference between the data on teenage pregnancy captured by the education ministry and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, adding that teenage pregnancy is a national concern.

“We look at the reasons given as to why children leave school. Teenage pregnancy is a national concern, as well as issues of incest, rape and sexual violence. We have seen that the sexual debut for children, their first sexual experience, is at 13 years of age in Namibia and research has found that it’s mostly because of coercion and violence, sexual violence,” says Steenkamp.

“One child pregnant, is one child too many. We have programmes that we put in schools, but it just appears that we need to go back to the drawing board,” she says.

The post Ohangwena crisis: 9 077 teen pregnancies in 4 years appeared first on The Namibian.

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