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Namibia

Exploring the link between poverty and teenage pregnancies

todayJune 25, 2024 12

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By Finna Kahili 

 

Is there a link between poverty and teenage pregnancies?   

To find out, News on One spoke to Sociologist from the University of Namibia (UNAM) and a local human rights activist, and according to them, there is a close link between poverty and teenage pregnancies in the country.   

They noted that young girls from impoverished or low-income households often resort to transactional sex to provide for themselves and their families.  

Speaking to News on One, University of Namibia (UNAM) Sociologist, Dr. Ellison Tjirera underscored that there is a direct connection between poverty and the elevated rates of teenage pregnancies in the country.   

Tjirera attributed this correlation to the pervasive economic inequality that persists in society, warning that unless addressed promptly, such issues will continue to rise:  

“Teenage pregnancy doesn’t disrupt progression of life but someone’s education depending on their social status such as persons from affluent families who are able to provide conducive environments such that the person will go back to school.  

But we can’t say the same about a child who is from a poor household, once you, as a young girl from a poor family falls pregnant, things just become worse.  

You are now also ostracized, you are disowned, you have no one to fall back to” Dr. Tjirera explained. 

When approached for comment, human rights activist Charlemain Husselmann noted that teenage girls in impoverished communities often encounter difficulties accessing family planning services due to long travel distances and financial constraints.  

Husselmann reiterated the need to integrate sexual education into the school curriculum to overcome the societal taboo around sex:  

We still find that many people still see sex as a taboo topic of discussion, so we still have teachers because of that social mentality, that cultural mentality that they bring with them to school, they do not want to teach the curriculum.  

So, they teach the bare basics, just the biology ‘How do you put on a condom ‘ and that’s it. They do not go into the details of ‘how do you actually practice safe sex’. Husselman stressed. 

According to a 2022 report by The Namibian Economist, regions with some of the highest pregnancy rates include Kavango West with 23.7%, Kavango East with 21,1% and Kunene with 21,1%.  

These regions have a high poverty level and are known as Namibia’s most impoverished regions.  

Written by: Staff Writer

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