First Lady Urges Parents To Engage Children In Bid To Curb Early Pregnancies
First Lady Auxillia Mnangangwa has called on parents to talk to their children about early and unintended pregnancies at home instead of leaving all the work to teachers and organizations.
Officiating at the launch of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Let’s Talk Campaign designed to reduce Early and Unintended Pregnancies, Mai Mnangagwa said it’s important for parents to start talking about preventing early pregnancies at home before children complete school.
“It is important to address pregnancy prevention before children complete or leave primary education. Parents and the community are leaving all the work to teachers at school and not at all giving time to our children.
“Growing up my mother would sit down and talk to me because she had time. Parents do not have time with their children anymore, we are thankful for the teachers who are taking up the parents roles teaching our children at school. So they have double duties, let’s help our teachers starting at home.
“The schools re-entry policy allows pregnant girls to return to school after delivery but I am saying going back to school after falling pregnant will disrupt a lot of things, you will go back to school but with a bit of shamefulness. My wish is to prevent that pregnancy and allow children to go on with school,” she explained.
The First Lady identified alcohol and drug abuse, religion, peer pressure, child marriages and poverty as some of the drivers of early and unintended pregnancies.
A recent report by UNESCO revealed that more than 6 700 girls dropped out of school in the country last year due to early and unintended pregnancies, with 367 coming from primary schools while 6 419 were from secondary schools.
Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Professor Paul Mavhima said falling pregnant while in school has negative consequences such as falling behind with school work due to the double responsibilities.
“In the new education act just about to be passed in parliament, we have said if a girl gets pregnant they should be re admitted so they continue with their education and they won’t fall behind. They should not be excluded but guided back into the system to complete their education.,” said Mavhima.
The Let’s Talk campaign is being led by UNESCO and was born out of an Eastern and Southern African commitment signed by Ministers of Health of the region in a bid to reduce early and unintended pregnancies.