Teenage pregnancy on the rise

THE KZN Department of Health raised concerns over teenage pregnancies in January, however it seems as though the plea has fallen on deaf ears as the number of teenagers falling pregnant and dropping out of school is still on the rise.

In a statement released by KZN Health Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo following the birth of children to a pair of 14 year old girls, he said that he department will continue waging war against “sugar daddies” or “blessers”.

A nurse from Waterfall Clinic, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed that teenage pregnancy is indeed on the rise and especially from children in the 13 to 16 years of age .

“What we see here is shocking and, when you ask the child about why they didn’t use the protection, as they are free condoms, they just tell you that you can’t eat sweets with a packet,” she said.

She also said some of the teens fall pregnant just to collect social grants. “The social grant that they get seems to be the pushing factor for them to have unprotected sex and it’s very disappointing seeing a child dropping out of school because of her carelessness,” said the nurse.

The nurse said it’s not only due to “sugar daddies” but also the pressure that girls face from their boyfriends who, they say, would leave them if they didn’t have sex with them. “It seems like they care about their boyfriends more than their own future. The boy carries on with his studies while the girl is stuck raising the child and they end up not being together,” she added.

Upper Highway resident Natalie Stellenbosch said she’s never come across a teenager who’s pregnant but she’s seen on the news that young children are becoming mothers for all the wrong reasons. “It’s a shame to see a young girl being pregnant, especially when you learn that they had sex because she was afraid to lose the guy and he’ll go looking for sex from elsewhere. Teens should focus on getting a good education and a job instead of focusing on sex at such a young age.”

Nomfundo Ngwane, a female grade 10 pupil at Ingqungqulu High School, agreed with the nurse that teenagers don’t want to use condoms, saying: “Guys will say that if you want to prove that you love him you need to have sex with him and, because the girl is afraid to be made a laughing stock at school, she often agrees without even thinking about her tomorrow,” she said.

Nomfundo said that some girls have sex with the purpose of getting pregnant so that they will get the social grant money to take care of their families as most families are being looked after by grandmothers.

“If it were not for the grants and peer pressure, I think that the number of teen pregnancies will drop drastically,” she added.

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