Teenage pregnancy drive did not de­liver

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - NOKUTHULA ZWANE Zwane_2li2ls

A DI­A­LOGUE in­tended to find a so­lu­tion to the grow­ing teenage pregnancy prob­lem in Ekurhu­leni did not go as planned af­ter its con­vener, mayor Mzwandile Masina, did not show up.

Only about 50 peo­ple ar­rived out of the ex­pected 300, and school­girls, who are most af­fected by the is­sue, were a noshow. So were teenage boys.

Of the 4 446 school­girls re­ported to have been preg­nant in Gaut­eng schools last year, 1 289 were from Ekurhu­leni, the area in the prov­ince worst af­fected.

Masina called a meet­ing on Fri­day to cre­ate a plat­form for par­ents, teach­ers and mem­bers of school gov­ern­ing bod­ies from Ekurhu­leni schools to in­ter­act with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to find so­lu­tions to pre­vent teenage pregnancy.

How­ever, Masina did not show up. It was claimed he had to rush to a protest in Vosloorus.

Se­nior ed­u­ca­tion spe­cial­ist Bev­er­ley Vi­lakazi, who at­tended, said she was highly dis­ap­pointed by the lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ad­ver­tis­ing of the ind­aba and wished that pupils had been in­vited to be part of the dis­cus­sion.

How­ever, the or­gan­is­ers from Masina’s of­fice said pupils were not avail­able as they were busy com­plet­ing ex­ams.

A par­ent who re­quested to re­main anony­mous, told The Star the ind­aba was a much needed event as she strug­gled to dis­cuss sex­ual mat­ters with her teen.

“I have a 16-year-old who is very cu­ri­ous about sex. And I worry every day about if he will be wise to use pro­tec­tion. We all know that it’s not only the girl’s prob­lem when she falls preg­nant,” the con­cerned par­ent said.

“I am very sad that our chil­dren were not in­vited to this ind­aba to en­gage with is­sues that in­volve them, such as teenage pregnancy.”

Vi­lakazi said she had been hop­ing to en­gage in top­ics to change the way teenage pregnancy was nor­malised in so­ci­ety.

“We need to see change. If we are go­ing to in­ter­vene, we need to in­ter­vene so that there’s real change,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Vi­lakazi, the Ekurhu­leni ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment has a sup­port unit that of­fers ther­apy and an ad­vo­cacy cam­paign for girls who are preg­nant.

“We can never turn a teen who is al­ready preg­nant away,” she said.

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