Over 760 adolescents pregnant in Chipata
By Staff Reporter
Over 760 adolescent pregnancies in Chipata district have been recorded in the first quarter of 2019.
Chipata District Commissioner Kalunga Zulu said of 2,816 pregnancies recorded between January and March, during antenatal care, 767 were adolescents.
“According to the preliminary report of the Zambia Demographic Health Survey 2018, teenagers with no education or only primary schooling (42 percent and 36 percent, respectively) were more likely to have started childbearing as compared to the 29 percent national average or 23 percent among teenagers with a secondary education,” he said.
Zulu added that childbearing is also most common among women in the lowest wealth quintile (46%).
“Rural teenagers tend to start childbearing earlier than other teenagers,” he said
Zulu said that 2049 were recorded from pregnant women above 20 years of age during the same period.
And Chipata district health director Dr Charles Fanaka said the prevalence of adolescent pregnancies was higher in rural and peri-urban areas as compared to urban areas of Chipata.
Dr Fanaka said among the public health facilities, Katambo Health Post in Paramount Chief Mpezeni’s area recorded the highest proportion of adolescent pregnancies at 68.8 percent whilst Chipata Hospital Affiliated Health Centre in Kalongwezi was the lowest at 5.3 percent.
He said none of the 28 pregnant who attended antenatal at Ejis Professional Medical Centre, a private clinic located in Chipata urban were below the age of 20 years.
“ In order to reduce teenage pregnancies in the district, there is need to keep girls in school for as long as is possible, improve sex education in schools, increase access to adolescent health services, improve access to contraception and promote traditional values that encourage women to delay childbearing including pre-marital sexual abstinence,” he said.
He said there is also need to encourage parents to have a more open relationship with their children were they can discuss issues of sexuality in homes.
Last year, Chipata district (Kasenengwa and Chipangali districts included) recorded over 5,000 adolescent pregnancies in the first quarter.