We must now launch campaign to preventing teenage pregnancies

22Jun 2016
The Guardian
We must now launch campaign to preventing teenage pregnancies

Adolescent pregnancy is a worldwide problem. In sub-Saharan Africa, increasing number of
girls are becoming mothers by the age of 18 years old.

According to WHO, approximately 14-15 million teenage girls and young women become mothers every year and this accounts for more that 10 per cent of births worldwide. Recent research indicates that Tanzania is among countries with the highest number of teenage pregnancies in the world.

Between 2006 and 2009, a total of 16,999 girls in primary and secondary schools across the country dropped out of school due to pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy is a result of early unprotected sexual experience and the mean age of first sexual experience for girls in East, central and southern Africa is considered to be 13.6 years.

This however not only predisposes them to early pregnancy but also putting adolescents at risk of abortion and sexually transmitted disease especially syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV and HIV that has negative impact in their lives.

HPV and HIV are different viruses that cause different health problems. Human papilloma virus (HPV) affects the skin and moist membranes. HPV can cause problems such as verrucas, genital warts and abnormal cell changes in the cervix.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system. HIV infection can lead to AIDS; however, with early diagnosis and treatment, most people don’t go on to develop AIDS.Teenage pregnancy in Tanzania, as one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa is a very big problem among adolescent girls. Pregnancy during adolescent has been associated with school dropout among girls in Tanzania .

School dropouts in Tanzania is much higher in girls than boys and the common reasons are teen pregnancy and teen marriages. In 2006, about 44,742 dropped out of primary school, 7,734 students dropped out of secondary schools, over 60 per cent being girls.

In the United States alone, more than 2,000 teenage girls get pregnant every day. Historically, the United Kingdom has had one of the highest teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in Western Europe.

In recent years, the government put a series of strategies in place in an attempt to get these figures down. There are no comparable rates for conceptions across Europe, but the under-18 birth rate suggests England is closing the gap.