Jul 21, 2024

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga | Teenage pregnancy is a national crisis | not just a Gauteng problem

Angie Motshekga

Between April 2020 and March 2021, the Gauteng Health Department in South Africa recorded over thousand young girls in Gauteng who gave birth between March this year and April last year.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, lockdowns and the restrictions, teenage pregnancy in South Africa has increased immensely. The Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga recently declared adolescent pregnancy in South Africa as a national crisis. “That is one issue that we as a nation, and as a department, cannot overlook. It has a negative influence on the work we perform as a sector, as well as the lives and futures of young women.” Said Angie, briefing the media.

Angie Motshekga further stated that, unintended pregnancy perpetuates poverty and affects young person’s growth and development, resulting in a concerning dropout rate, which the department of basic education is working hard to address and improve. The Department of Basic Education will engage with communities to expand the adoption of a “comprehensive sexuality education program that strives to empower young people with age-appropriate information.”

The Minister started the “Let’s Talk!” campaign last year, focusing on factors driving the campaign that include poverty; lack of education and access to reproductive health care; cultural norms; peer pressure; as well as physical and sexual abuse. However, the rate of teenage pregnancies continues to rise.

When asked about the high number of teenage pregnancies, the Soul City Institute told the media that it wasn’t surprised. Phinah Kgoditseng, the CEO of Soul City, said the country hasn’t done enough to protect children’s rights. “This is nothing new to us at Soul City Institute.

As far as we’re aware, this has been a problem for some time now. COVID-19 is probably to blame for the increase in numbers. It’s a problem that’s been around for a while, for the same reason that we don’t call a sexual encounter between 10 and 14-year-olds, “statutory rape” because in South Africa, the age of consent is 16 years.” Informed Kgoditseng. ”

Dineo Matlakala, now 21-year-old, from Lotus Garden in Gauteng Province, took a year off from school, in order to raise her child as she was still in high school by the time. “I was upset when I found out I was pregnant; I had to stay home and raise my child because both of my parents worked. Even though I was behind in everything, the following year I was able to return to school.”

Mashala, 39, a nurse from the Saulsville Clinic said that education should begin at home, and that parents shouldn’t be afraid to talk to their young children about birth control methods and sex. Parents should make it acceptable for their children to talk about such issues so that they will not be afraid to seek treatment at clinics and hospitals. “If parents could teach their children from a young age, it would also benefit us nurses.”

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