Non-Governmental Gender Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) says it is concerned with the number of adolescent girls that fell pregnant in Lundazi last year.
NGOCC Director Engwase Mwale said the information released by Lundazi District Director Davy Zulu that more than 4000 adolescent girls accessed antenatal care services last year was disheartening.
“NGOCC is deeply saddened with this development as it negatively affects the girl children, these cases will not only have economic and social effects on the victims but will impact on their health too,” Ms. Mwale said.
Ms. Mwale further said some of the girls involved will obviously drop out of school, a situation she described as deprivation of career potential in them.
She also called on government and other Civil Society Organizations to accelerate the provision of age appropriate sexuality education to learners at an early age.
She notes that early education on sexuality will ensure that adequate and timely information on sexual, reproductive health and children’s rights were accessed by both in and out of school youths.
Meanwhile, MINISTER of Gender Elizabeth Phiri says it was ‘demonic and shameful’ that teachers still engaged in relationships with pupils in this generation.
Ms. Phiri said it was worrying and shameful that her office still received cases of teachers impregnating pupils.
She said it was sad that people supposed to aid pupils were also involved in jeopardizing their future.
“Teachers and the media should be in the forefront on sensitizing young adults on the dangers of early marriages. Sensitization is not a one man show, government alone cannot do it and as such every citizen must play a part,” she said.
The Minister said people should emulate president Lungu, whom she described as a continental champion in the fight against early marriages.
Ms. Phiri also hoped parliament would enact a bill that will allow expulsion of teachers from service once found guilty of unhealthy relationships with pupils.
“We will soon take a direction of expelling teachers found in unhealthy relationships with pupils, we hope that will be soon enough because currently we don’t have that law,” she said.
She however told the Lusaka Star news that some progress where being made in the fight against early pregnancies and hoped to see an improvement this year.