Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care chairperson Dr Ruth Labode has said teenage pregnancies have reached epidemic levels, urging the government to take immediate action and stem the scourge.
Contributing to a discussion in the National Assembly Wednesday on what action responsible authorities must take regarding underage children who die while giving birth, Labode said the government should do something as a matter of urgency.
“Madam Speaker, I am hurt and shocked that the levels of teenage pregnancies in Zimbabwe have reached epidemic levels and for us to sit here and pretend there is a social norm or a family core that will deal with that issue is very sad,” decried Labode.
“I remember Minister (Sithembiso) Nyoni came to this House and presented a report of 55000 teenage girls who got pregnant within a month. The report on Education said 10000 teenage girls left school because of pregnancies and we sit here and pretend it is something that will just disappear. What I am saying is that we have a serious problem at hand.”
Labode said ignoring or avoiding the problem at hand would not in any way solve it.
“We need to do everything within our power and deal with Section 35 of the Public Health Act,” suggested Labode.
“We know that our young women are indulging in sex. Why do we want to pretend that they should not go to health facilities and get that service that can serve them? We have to do something”.
Police in August last year arrested suspects involved in the death of 14-year girl, Memory Machaya who died at the Marange Apostolic Sect shrine in Bocha while giving birth.
The girl, who had been forced out of school and had allegedly been married off to one of the sect members, died on July 15 and was secretly buried two hours later by the church.
This month, a 15-year-old girl, Nokutenda Hwaramba died also at a church shrine while giving birth in Bikita, Masvingo.