Editor’s note: On Monday we published a shocking report about one single school in Limpopo which has 36 pregnant pupils. The same school also has 31 pupils aged between nine and 19 who are currently living with HIV.
Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathu confirmed the shocking truth about the health crisis in the province and called on members of the community to support the pupils living with HIV and to ensure they do not stop receiving treatment.
Ramathu was not as kind in her opinion about the pregnant girls saying the education department did not employ midwives and that school was not a suitable place for pregnant girls. Ramathu called on society to take responsibility for failing its children.
Briefly.co.za editor Andre gives his opinion on the matter.
Firstly I don’t view myself as the perfect person to give opinions about teen pregnancies since I am a proudly gay man, I can, however, look at the facts around the matter and deliver a mildly educated opinion on the matter.
Pregnant girls don’t belong in school
I agree partly agree with the sentiment expressed with the MEC on this matter. School from what I remember is not exactly the safest environment for a highly-pregnant woman to be in. School children are by their nature rambunctious and busy, this presents dangers to the mother-to-be and the unborn child in the form of accidental bumps, tumbles and a million other dangers.
This does not mean I don’t think pregnant school girls should be deprived of an education. Let’s be rational and brutally honest. Limpopo is facing a crisis, 36 pregnant girls in this school. In June there was a report of another school with at least 28 pregnant girls.
The Limpopo education and health departments should look into establishing a special school with boarding facilities for pregnant girls. This facility needs to be properly managed and run to ensure it doesn’t turn into a slum, but considering the scale of the problem, this should really be a priority.
Society needs to take responsibility for its failings
Ramathu said the time had come to admit that society as a whole had failed to provide the necessary guidance and example to the children of the country. She said there was no more time to play a blame game.
I completely disagree with the MEC’s statement. From what I remember at school we were bombarded with information about pregnancy and HIV and other STD’s. The youth are very well informed in this day and age so the problem is not one of lack of education or information.
Instead, I blame poverty in these communities, which in most cases is as bad as it was before 1994, for teenagers making bad choices which they don’t necessarily understand will affect them for the rest of their lives.
The reason I blame poverty is because of the appearance of the so-called blessers or sugar daddies. Wealthy or well-off older men who are not shy to shower young girls with gifts and cash in order to get their way.
It’s easy to understand how a girl who comes from a home where, despite the best efforts of her parents, she might only have one meal a day or has never owned anything nice can be seduced by the trappings of wealth.
Instead of focusing on educating children, the government needs to somehow stamp out the heinous prevalence of blessers. These men don’t care about the girls and often have multiple ‘girlfriends’ who they will seduce and never even consider using protection.
Teen pregnancies and therefore HIV and STDs will always happen to some extent, teenagers will forever be teenagers, but with the proper action, these cases can be limited to a near negligible number.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Brieflyco.za
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