30% teens pregnant in Kunene, Omaheke, Kavango

08 July 2019 | Local News

Namibia is grappling with a high teenage pregnancy rate which stands at 19% nationally, but is as high as 35% in some regions.

This is according to Vice-president Nangolo Mbumba in his keynote address during the launch of the State of World Report (SWOP) by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Namibia, last week.

According to UNFPA statistics, the regions that registered a teenage pregnancy of over 30% include the Kunene, Omaheke and Kavango regions.

The launch also marked the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking International Conference on Population and Development ICPD25 and the 50th anniversary of UNFPA.

Mbumba expressed concern that despite the major achievements witnessed in the field of HIV/Aids, HIV infections are regrettably increasing among young people, particularly adolescent girls.

“Therefore, it is clear that we need to take renewed action to confront this phenomenon head on. We will continue to work with stakeholders to address these issues, including issues of gender-based violence and drug and alcohol abuse, which are quite detrimental to the country's development efforts. In doing so, we will be able to reach those furthest behind first, especially our adolescent and marginalised girls,” he said.

According to Mbumba, efforts by development partners such as the UNFPA with reports such as the SWOP serve as the needed platform and motivation to increase the awareness of all stakeholders on the critical issues required towards investing and supporting the future of women and young people, he said.

He added that the country's young people need education, employment and empowerment to make informed decisions and choices about their health, participation and leadership.

Meanwhile, Dennia Gayle UNFPA representative, said while Namibia has made great strides in its quest to nearing HIV epidemic control, more still needs to be done.

“The national teenage pregnancy rate is 19%, however some regions have higher proportion of teenage pregnancies,” she said.

Gayle added that UNFPA remains committed and fired up.

“We will mobilise every dollar, galvanise every ally, forge new alliances and partnerships, insist on every action, identify and search for new and innovative solutions, reach to the very last mile, and secure a new set of ambitious commitments essential to accelerate rights and choices for all,” she said.

JEMIMA BEUKES