My heart broke into pieces as I went through some documentaries by Tuko News on Youtube. It got me thinking and I said to myself: why should young girl’s dreams be shuttered easily by just pregnancy?
This is a situation that can easily be avoided if the community got it acts right. Just think about it this way. The way we educate young girls on the importance of doing house chores and how to do them, nurturing them on cleanliness that is the same way they should be educated about sexual and reproductive health.
The day a young girl begins to experience her menstrual cycle is the very day you should forget about being embarrassed about talking to her about Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH).
Teenage pregnancies is absolutely nothing new to our ears and it is really sad that we live in a generation where concern is taken once the problem has already occurred.
With this novel coronavirus pandemic, there has been an upward surge in teenage pregnancies according to several media reports. And, surprisingly, the community responded by saying that the numbers were forged. It feels sad but the truth is that just a single pregnancy should be enough to worry us.
These are young girls with absolutely no life experience getting pregnant at such a tender age, and this leaves lots of things at stake. They include their mental health, general body health, the health of the unborn children and their futures. Ironically, the community has done little in helping to combat the vice.
Women and young girls suffer the most when it comes to humanitarian crises such as political wars and conflicts and other global emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Definitely with this pandemic, our government failed us the most in controlling the numbers in sexual violence and teenage pregnancies. The high numbers were to be expected but the only focus they had was on Covid-19. Less funding was directed to medical facilities providing sexual and reproductive health services. This includes poor supply of contraceptives, lack of immediate response team to strictly handle issues of rape cases among young girls and women in general.
The government also failed in provision of free sanitary towels to young girls. Because of fear of shame, they are forced to have sex with men who promise to solve their financial problems and as result they end up being abandoned unwanted Pregnancy
The question is, if the government can provide free condoms to students in the universities, what stops them from providing free sanitary pads to girls experiencing a natural biological process out of their control?
Schools are also to blame for the increase in the numbers of teenage pregnancies, even before the pandemic. We still kept on receiving cases of teenage pregnancies of which most happened when the young girls were sent back home due to lack of school fees. School plays an important role in a child’s life and suspending them from learning gives them ample time to idle around and become easy preys to predators who might even be their immediate family members.
The community should always be at the forefront in raising voices against teenage pregnancies. Such obligations include providing nonstop education about SRH as early as possible, raising voices against rape and assault to the young girls, being at the forefront of stopping stigmatisation to enable them express their fears and encounters with violence.
Finally, lack of proper emotional, sexual health and financial support from family members increases high chances of teenage pregnancies. It is high time parents normalised sex education to both girls and boys as early as before adolescence hits. Provide them with whatever support they need before they get it from the wrong sources.