New Era (Windhoek)

8 August 2012

Namibia: There Is a Need to Revisit Sex Education!

There is a need to address sexual reproductive health and rights including sex, sexuality and contraceptives, to re-look at the strategy on sex education emphasising sexual reproductive health and rights.

The National Young Women Association (NYWA) Information and Publicity Officer, Anna Himalwa. She was reacting to recent media reports on recorded high pregnancies in the country, especially the Kavango Region. She says even though work has already been done with regards to teenage pregnancy and motherhood, more effort is still needed, especially by involving the community in programme planning and implementation through a participatory edutainment approach in getting the message across.

"Parents do not talk to their kids about morals and about their future. Learners go to school but the parents do not ask their kids about their progress and any factors affecting their education. The high number of pregnancy among the school learners in Kavango Region tells the nation a lot about our social fabric. It means that learners can not be safe and focused at school, because they are continuously disturbed," says Hilka Amadhila, Namibian National Students Organisation (NANSO) Secretary for Gender and Social Welfare.She stresses that factors that often contribute to these numbers includes girls engaging in alcohol consumption as well as peer pressure."Peer pressure is the other diseases among the young people, they want to have and do what others are doing. The future is dark for these young people, because most of them don't comeback after delivery, meaning thats the end of their academic life cycle. The effects of that are, poverty, you can not get a decent job, a short life expectancy and less women will contribute to nation building and vision 2030," she says.

Amadhila emphasises that teachers who are impregnating learners do not care about the future of these young girls and women. "I think the punishment for these teachers is not the best and that's why they continue impregnating school girls. You fire the person from the teaching profession and they get another job somewhere else and life goes on. I think the best is just to have a law that ensures that 70 percent of the salary for teacher or any other person is given to the girl that they have impregnated, this must happen for 18 years from the date it's confirmed that the girl is impregnated by that person.

She says teachers who are having affairs with learners, are a danger to the education system and the future of the nation stressing the need for sex education which she addes would teach learners how to avoid pregnancy and sexually related infections.

Recent media reports on the high numbers of recorded pregnancies in the Kavango Region have sent shock waves through the country. Hamalwa says the issue of teenage pregnancies in Namibia has reached an unacceptably high level while the organisation wishes to reduce the numbers of further such cases from happening. "Teenage pregnancy and teenage motherhood is just one of the many challenges female adolescents face on a daily basis," she says.

According to a recent research report by Kahorere Hungi from the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA), youth pregnancy rates in Namibia are high, with 20 percent of 17- year - olds, 35 percent of 19-year-olds and 51 percent of 20 year olds having given birth to a child. "Adolescent pregnancy remains very prevalent particularly in the rural areas of the county. It has a negative impact on the health of the adolescents and their infants. It contributes to a high level of poverty, an illiterate nation, back street abortions and baby dumping which is in an occurrence when they not want a child," adds Hamalwa.

According to statistics, the Kavango Region has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy recording 34percent. From January to July 11, about 700 teenagers between the ages of 19 to 19, and 47 cases of pregnancies of 13 to 15-years-olds were recorded in the Kavango Region.

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