- Youngest aged 12
- Most linked to defilement and rape
- 111 young girls raped in last three months
Ngami District Health Management Team (DHMT) has revealed that cases of teenage pregnancy in the district have reached worrying levels, with the youngest pregnant teenager registered being a 12 years old.
This was said by Ngami DHMT Coordinator, Dr Sandra Maripe during an awareness campaign held recently in Maun aimed at sensitising the public on teenage pregnancy.
Maripe said between January and October this year alone, a total number of 241 teenage pregnancies have already been recorded.
“The age range of these teenagers is from 12 to 19 years, these are very risky pregnancies as their bodies are still developing and unable to carry a baby for full 9 months,” Maripe said.
That as it may, when addressing Maun Administrative Authority (MAA) this week in a similar issue, Chairperson, Vepaune Moreti revealed that around 111 young children were either defiled or raped in the last three months. He noted that the new number, adds further to the 109 that were registered during the previous quarter.
According to Moreti, Kareng recorded the highest number with 20 defilement cases reported by October this year. Bodibeng/Bothatogo followed with 10, then Komana/Toteng with seven while Sehithwa recorded six.
“This has prompted the sub-district to enforce child protection strategies as the department of social protection has now placed 20 children in institutions for safety,” Moreti stated indicating that 11 of the children had been placed in SOS villages in Francistown and Tlokweng as well as at the Botswana Gender Based Violence Prevention and Support Centre in Francistown.
Meanwhile Ngami DHMT Coordinator warned that teenage pregnancies expose children to various health complications which include, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), birth related complications.
She noted that the pregnancies are reportedly results of various acts which include among others, rape and defilement adding that some of the cases are already before law enforcement officers.
She indicated that as part of efforts to deal with teenage pregnancy, they have come up with a plan to promote population public education in schools highlighting that they have recently conducted public education an education on family planning, teenage pregnancies and STIs during school holiday study boot camp.
“We have also had a teen mothers club meeting recently which disappointedly had low attendance as only nine teen mothers showed up, some failed to come due to issues of transportation,” she stated.
Maripe further indicated that they have also collaborated with the North West Regional Education office to assess teenage pregnancies per school adding that the two parties have also made an agreement to lead the campaigns in schools across the region.
She has also noted that in collaboration with various Non-Governmental Organizations they are also conducting community seminars aimed at combating teenage pregnancies in the district. Maripe has since called on various stakeholders to join hands in addressing the alarming rate of this social ill.