There is serious need for the establishment of youth-friendly reproductive health facilities in rural areas if teenage pregnancies are to be effectively tackled, Plan International Zambia suggests.
The organisation observes that facilities where young people can access helpful reproductive health information are unavailable in rural areas, which has contributed to the high rate of teenage pregnancies being recorded.
Speaking in an interview, Plan International Zambia acting communications manager Lazarus Mwale said poverty and peer pressure are among the main drivers of teenage pregnancies in rural areas. “We are advocating youth-friendly reproductive health facilities in rural areas where young people can easily access reproductive health services, including information on how to avoid getting pregnant,” Mr Mwale said. He also explained that there is a general correlation between teenage pregnancies and early marriages as it is rare for girls in rural areas to continue going to school after falling pregnant. Other factors to be considered are cultural practices and ceremonies such as Chinamwali in Eastern Province, where girls that come of age are taught how to treat a man in marriage. “When they complete the training and are loaded with information on sexuality, they may want to experiment,” he stated.
Plan International Zambia presently has two reproductive health facilities catering for young people in the rural areas of Shang’ombo in Western Province and Chadiza in Eastern Province.
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