RECENT research indicates that Tanzania is among countries with the highest number of teenage pregnancies in the world. This was said by Plan International Tanzania Country Director Jorgen Haldorsen at a press conference on the International Day of the Girl Child slated for Friday.
Mr Haldorsen said that between 2006 and 2009, a total of 16,999 girls in primary and secondary schools across the country dropped out of school due to pregnancy.
He said that reports on reproductive health also show that a significant number of maternal mortality cases happen among under age mothers aged between 15 and 18 years. "It is established that three out of ten girls experience sexual violence before reaching 18 years.
Among boys, one out of seven face similar experience," he said. Mr Haldorsen said that the study established that 48 per cent of these cases were committed at home and 23 per cent committed along the way to and from school, while 15 per cent happens at school.
He said that it is worth noting that girl children in Tanzania together with boys still face a number of challenges in realizing their rights, saying that a study on violence Against Children in 2009, by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the government indicates that violence against children remains widespread and is a real issue in the country.
He further said that this year's marking of the International Day of the Girl Child will coincide with the 2nd anniversary of Because I am a Girl (BIAAG) campaign, saying that it will be a moment to take stock of achievements made so far under the campaign.
He said that some of the achievements under the BIAAG campaign include the provision of 450 scholarships for girls to access secondary education under six programmes, providing access for 413 girls to vocational and technical training and construction of gender-friendly water and sanitation infrastructure in schools.