25 February 2013

Namibia: Bethanie's Teenage Pregnancy Rate Worrisome

A TOTAL of 14 girls aged between 14 and 18 years fell pregnant at Bethanie village in the South between January 2012 and January 2013.

Bethanie has a small population of 3 900 people and is located 130 kilometres from Keetmanshoop.

Revealing the teenage pregnancy figures on Saturday at a meeting with Karas Governor Bernadus Swartbooi and the !Aman community at Bethanie, health official David Nikodemus warned that teenage pregnancy has an adverse impact on the development of the child.

"Because girls who fall pregnant are young, this can lead to health complications during labour," Nicodemus added.

Urging girls to refrain from sex, Nikodemus called for concerted efforts from spiritual and traditional leaders to help in this matter.

The chief of the !Aman tribe, Dawid Frederick, attributed alcohol abuse to the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy at the village.

"If you walk at night, you'll see young children at shebeens," said Frederick.

Frederick called on the governor to close the shebeens, which he claimed are destroying the people of Bethanie.

In response, Swartbooi advised the community to organise themselves and petition the liquor board for the closure of shebeens at the village.

Nikodemus also highlighted alcohol abuse and HIV-AIDS as challenges facing the health authority at Bethanie.

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