A RANGE of factors, including sexual abuse and early exposure to pornographic and indecent online content, have largely been the driving factors behind adolescent pregnancy prevalence in Zimbabwe.
It stands at 23.7 percent, with 21 percent of Antenatal Clinic bookings recorded from January 2019 to December 2022, among those aged 10 to 19 years.
This has been shown by a study, which was conducted by the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV AIDS Research Zimbabwe, the United Nations Population Fund Zimbabwe, UNICEF Zimbabwe and UNESCO, with support from the Health Resilience Fund and Safeguard Young People programme.
According to results from the study, in which 1 418 adolescent girls were randomly selected from the enumeration areas in six out of the country’s 10 provinces, the number of adolescents who booked in Antenatal Clinics was approximately 1 706 946 in 1 560 healthcare facilities from January 2019 to December 2022.
From the bookings recorded during the period, 0.2 percent were from 10-14 years, while those aged 15-19 accounted for 21 percent.
UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe, Edward Kallon, said the findings were a wake-up call to invest in the young girls’ sexual reproductive health needs.
“Context Zimbabwe has a young population facing challenges related to their development, including adolescent pregnancy, which remains a major contributor to maternal and child mortality,” said Kallon.
“The findings of this assessment have confirmed that the young girls of Zimbabwe need our protection and require our joint investment efforts and a multi-sectoral approach is imperative, calling on all line ministries to work together.”
He added that the findings highlight harmful practices, limited knowledge of pregnancy risks among young people, and lack of parent-to-child communication.
“We need to respond to the needs of young people and build a future for them.
“As the UN family, we are committed to supporting a multi-sectoral approach to achieving good health and well-being for adolescents and young people.”