Health Minister Says Schoolgirl Pregnancies Are Unacceptable, Education Department Is at Wit’s End

Health Minister Says Schoolgirl Pregnancies Are Unacceptable, Education Department Is at Wit’s End

  • The Minister of Health, Joe Phaala, participated in a debate on teen pregnancy, which focused on how to decrease unwanted pregnancies
  • Phaala called unwanted pregnancy unacceptable, particularly in schoolgirls as it disrupts their education
  • The Department of Health is concerned by the high number of young girls who have become pregnant in recent years

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In a debate about teenage pregnancy, Health Minister Joe Phaala called unplanned pregnancies, particularly in females who are still in school, unacceptable. This follows a report by the Department of Basic Education which stated that 130 000 babies were born to girls between 10 and 19 years of age in 2019.

Phaala expressed that more action needs to be taken to ensure that girls do not become pregnant, as it disrupts their schooling and causes many to drop out of school altogether, and often do not return. He also added that teenage pregnancy has long plagued the country.

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We know that teenage pregnancy is not a new phenomenon in our society, with the South African Health and Demographic survey of 2016 finding that 16% of adolescent girls and that is between 15 and 19 years of age have become parents," Phaala said.
Joe Phaala, Health Minister, teen pregnancy
Health Ministers Joe Phaala says unplanned pregnancies are unacceptable. Image: Getty Images.
Source: Getty Images

What needs to change to prevent pregnancies?

According to SABC News, 70% of teenage girls who fell pregnant during the Covid-19 pandemic felt that their pregnancies are unwanted and unplanned. This figure was revealed in a webinar centred on the increase in teenage pregnancy and measures that need to be taken against it.

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Reginah Mhaule, the deputy minister of Basic Education, said that girls as young as 10 years old becoming mothers is an urgent situation that requires immediate and focused attention. She said that the boys and men who impregnate these young girls must be held responsible.

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Stats SA released a report saying that in 2020 alone, 34 000 teenagers gave birth, 688 of which were 10 years and younger. Mhaule said that often the pregnancies are due to rape and GBV, which is why these issues need to be addressed to tackle the unwanted pregnancy problem.

Reactions to Phaala's statement

@Nomhle_Global said:

"Amongst the many failures from government, this one is too much to bear ."

@snaggletoots shared:

"So sex education really works in this country."

@JSnake5 said:

"Cry the beloved country."

@Djporsche believes:

"Sex education isn't really decreasing the rate of teen pregnancy."

Young woman passes matric on 3rd attempt

Yesterday Briefly News reported that Caryn Cupido received praise galore after sharing her story. Her never-give-up attitude allowed for her to push herself to earn a National Senior Certificate.

According to Caryn, she failed matric three years ago. She decided to rewrite her exams but unfortunately failed again. Last year, she decided to try once more and lo and behold, she passed!

She excitedly shared the news to Facebook where she posed proudly with her NSC. Peeps have taken time out of their days to share messages of advice, thanks and motivation with the young lady.


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