Let's talk about sex

13 September 2019 | Opinion

Teen pregnancy in Namibia remains a rising concern. The high teen pregnancy rate has also resulted in many girls dropping out of school to stay home with their little ones even though there is a government policy in place which allows learner mothers to get back to school. For a nation that is battling unacceptably high HIV/Aids infections, the phenomenon of teenage pregnancies raises relevant questions whether sex education is effective in our schools. At the moment, Namibia’s national rate of teenage pregnancy stands at 19%. In the two Kavango regions alone, the teen pregnancy rate is a disturbingly high 38%. Unbelievable! In other regions such as Kunene, the issue is exacerbated by intergenerational sexual relationships, which remain common to this day. We have also seen many incidences where teenage mothers don’t graduate from high school, which in itself has long-term effects on them. According to the World Health Organisation, teenage pregnancy is still a major contributor to mother and child mortality, in addition to feeding ill-health and poverty. There is a need to really look at new workable solutions to curb teenage pregnancies in our country because it seems social campaigns geared towards practicing safe sex are not effective enough to change reckless behaviour among young people. Holding those responsible for teenage pregnancy cannot be the only solution towards curbing this scourge. Surely, our conservative attitude towards social problems must change for the better and it is important that community leaders and parents alike stop viewing sexual intercourse as a taboo subject. A comprehensive sex education programme is essential at reducing risky sexual behaviours, especially among learners. These campaigns should be community-oriented and young girls and boys, men and women must be sensitised with the aim of helping to raise awareness and reducing the prevalence of teen pregnancy. Information taught at school must be reinforced in the family home and in our communities. This must be dealt with on a social level by addressing the root cause of teenage pregnancy in our society.

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