Zimbabwe: Worry Over Gaps in Adolescent Sexuality Education, Access to Contraceptives

24 September 2020

The government has cited gaps in the adolescent sexuality education and access to contraceptives for the upsurge in teenage pregnancies.

This was said by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who is also the Health Minister when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Child Care.

Chiwenga said though the constitution allows access to sexual education for adolescents, parent consent remained a stumbling block towards universal access to reproductive health services.

"Children must be taught about sexual education. However, it remains the duty of parents to provide support and help access to reproductive health services when necessary," said Chiwenga.

Dr Ruth Labode, chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on health and child care urged government to use evidence from other countries to reduce teenage pregnancies.

"We are teaching our children how to use contraceptives and that they should access them when in need but practically, we are denying them access to reproductive health services," she said.

"Here in Zimbabwe, if a health worker gives a teenager jadele, that health worker can risk arrest," said Labode.

She said Rwanda has reduced teenage pregnancies just by opening access to contraceptives for teenagers.

Zimbabwe recently adopted the Education Amendment Act, 2020, to align its Education Act with the country's Constitution.

The Act has fairly extensive provisions to protect, respect and fulfill the right to education for all children. It addresses issues pertinent to education, including the prohibition to expel pregnant girls from school, free and compulsory education, sexual and reproductive health issues, and the rights of learners with disabilities.

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