|The Battle against Teenage Pregnancy in South Africa|
|Thursday, 02 June 2011 14:53|
Teenage Pregnancy is a menace to our society. It is a struggle that needs to receive as much attention and focus as the struggle against Apartheid and more recently HIV, received.
Apart from the myriad medical complications of Teenage pregnancy, early pregnancy and childbearing is linked to a host of critical social issues, such as:
Public Costs: Teen childbearing costs taxpayers a lot of money each year, including public sector health care costs, increased child welfare costs – Child care grant, prison costs and lost tax revenue.
Poverty: 67 percent of families begun by a teen mother live in poverty, and 52 percent of all mothers currently on welfare had their first child as a teenager. Perhaps this is because teen moms are less likely to complete high school, making it difficult for them to obtain higher-paying jobs.
Babies' Well-Being: Since teens often don't practice optimum prenatal care, babies born to teen moms are more likely to be born prematurely and at low birth weight. They are also more likely to suffer abuse and neglect than children born to moms older than 20, thus entrenching poverty and crime.
Education: Children of teenage mothers are more likely to perform poorly in school, making it difficult for them to graduate from high school and escape poverty and crime.
Crime: Statistics show that sons of teen moms are 13 percent more likely to end up in prison, increasing crime as well as prison costs.
Health statistics in fact show a decline in Teenage fertility and in overall fertility in South Africa progressively over the years since the early 1970s. It is difficult however to say whether the decline is due to reduced fertility or the effect of Good Contraceptive use and termination of pregnancy.
What is clear though is that Teenage pregnancy is still very high and undesirable as it perpetuates poverty and the oppression of women.
Teenage Pregnancy increases progressively from age 15 to 19, almost quadrupling by age 19. This is due to both biologic and social reasons. Biologically, an older girl is more attractive and she is more fertile than her younger counterparts, whilst she is also beginning to succumb to more peer pressure.
According to Kirby, 2002; Santelli, Lowry, Brener & Robin 2000, the relationship that teenagers have with school can influence their sexual behaviour and as a result early pregnancy. The writers state that when teenagers feel a sense of attachment and connection to school, they are less likely to fall pregnant.
School attachment, academic achievement and higher aspirations for education offer incentives for teenagers to avoid pregnancy. On the other hand, when the relationship with schooling is tenuous, either through dislike of school, poor academic achievement, poor expectations of furthering education, girls are more likely to become pregnant.
The drivers of Teenage pregnancy are therefore multifaceted and include:
• Disintegration of the family structure: Absent Parents
Prevention strategies thus need to be multifaceted and multisectoral, including Family, Government, Business, Community and education interventions.
It is with this understanding that Centre of HOPE is celebrating the closure of its 10 year Abstinence Walk Project and Launching GAZi.
The life of a Person is carried in his/her blood, by making certain positive lifestyle choices, this young person honors their blood and thus subscribes to the GAZi Generation!
GAZi Generation makes the following informed positive lifestyle choices:
• Delaying age of sexual debut (thus Preventing Teen Pregnancy, STI, HIV) and Being fully educated on matters of sex
Join the GAZi Generation and turn the tide against Poverty, Substance abuse, Crime, Racism and lack of Social Cohesion. Be part of the transformation of South Africa! “I Afrika entsha”
by Dr Taki Dube