The Department of Basic Education has it that young girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years old are infected with HIV every week.
The statistics were provided during the Teenage pregnancy and Comprehensive s_xuality report. However, the report was presented to the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education.
It was revealed that teenage pregnancy increased by 30% higher than the annual average between April 2020 and March 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Deputy director-general Dr Granville Whittle said poverty, r_pe, gaps in the Comprehensive s_xuality Education, and school dropouts are among the culprits.
“Girls are four times more likely to be impacted or affected by HIV compared to boys. 46% of s_xual ab_se complaints in South Africa are children, 15.1% of all the girl’s experience r_pe, s_xual harassment, verbal ab_se or bullying in schools.”
In the first quarter of 2021, just over 35 000 pregnancies were recorded among young girls aged between 15 and 19 years old. 1053 pregnancies were recorded among children aged between 10 and 14 years old. These numbers were increased by the countrywide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Whittle told Parliament that the numbers are alarming and need immediate action and solutions. He said most of these pregnancies and HIV rates are due to statutory r_pe.
“We want to work with schools and school principals to ensure that the cases are reported, investigated and the perpetrators are brought to book. Often these girls are r_ped by older men and that’s why they fall pregnant,” said Whittle.
The department says keeping girls in school has proven to be one of the tools to prevent teen pregnancy and educate adolescent girls on s_x, s_xuality, and HIV.
Alongside the Department of Health and Social Development, DBE has submitted an integrated school health policy to the cabinet for approval. This policy will according to DBE assist in the prevention and management of learner pregnancy in schools.
In other news, Limpopo’s Molautsi Secondary School confirms 27 pregnant learners. It might not sound true but Mzansi is in shock after Molautsi Secondary School at Blood River near Polokwane, Limpopo, confirmed that it has 27 learners who are pregnant.
Not so long ago one of it student trended after she safely gave birth to triplets. However, the 18-year-old mother did confirm that the babies’ father is a fellow learner.
It is in the wake of this incident that led to a disturbing discovery that the school has more than 27 learners who have baby bumps. The school did confirm that the majority of the pregnant learners are in grade 12.