The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has revealed shocking figures of children as young as 10 giving birth to babies at state hospitals, with some of them opting to abort.
As many as 934 babies were delivered by girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years, revealed Refiloe Nt’sekhe DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development in a statement on Tuesday morning.
“This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Health, Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature,” said Nt’sekhe.
She said 2 976 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years had “a Choice on Termination of Pregnancy”.
The DA member of the provincial legislature said all in all there were 23 226 teenage pregnancies in Gauteng from April 2020 to March 2021.
“These numbers are sad and incredibly troubling,” said Nt’sekhe.
She said the high rate of teenage pregnancy indicates a great need for “sex education” among teenagers.
Nt’sekhe urged the Gauteng departments of education, social development, and health “to strengthen their teenage pregnancy and sex education campaigns to conscientize our teenagers”.
Teenage pregnancy impacts negatively on educational opportunities for young girls, especially those without the proper support and help.
As a result, these girls are less likely to finish high school.
Teenage pregnancy remains a serious social and health problem in South Africa, said Nt’sekhe.
“It poses a health risk to both mother and child, and it also has social consequences such as continuing the cycle of poverty and early school dropout,” said Nt’sekhe.
She said the DA demands Gauteng departments of Social Development, Education and Health intensify their campaigns against teenage pregnancy to 365 days a year.
Nt’sekhe said teenage pregnancy prevention must be a priority in schools.
“We also urge parents and guardians, as well as different stakeholders to work with government departments to assist in curbing teenage pregnancy, a societal issue that is affecting young girls,” said Nt’sekhe.
“Teenage girls should be taught about the consequences of teenage pregnancy and preventative measures to curb this.
“As for girls who are under the age of consent, they should also be taught their rights in this regard and to know, at no point, is anyone allowed to force themselves onto them.
“The future of our girls can be saved through behaviour change with the correct knowledge and guidance provided by the provincial government.”