By Michael Gwarisa
A total of 237 teenage girls have given birth at Mutambara Mission Hospital since the beginning of the year.
Briefing ministry of health officials and donors, officials at the Hospital confirmed the sad development and blamed the presence of illegal miners in the Rusitu and Hotsprings areas.
“Teen pregnancies is a major challenge in Chimanimani district, 237 teenagers have given birth Mutambara mission hospital since January.
“Mutsvangwa, Rusitu & Hotsprings are hot spots in teen preg in Chimanimani district mostly because of illegal mining activities in these areas. Mutambara Mission Hospital has a 120 bed capacity,” said the officials.
According to a study by the National Teenage Fertility Study, Zimbabwe has the highest teenage fertility rate in sub-Saharan Africa owing to Cultural and religious practices which include chiramu, polygamy among others.
The report says that between 500 000 and 700 000 teenagers fall pregnant every year, with 20 percent of the pregnancies in this group due to early child marriages. According to the report, the fertility rate in urban areas is half that of the rural areas.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)’s Zimbabwe Representative Cheikh Cisse was recently quoted saying ,”This, therefore, requires our urgent attention as teenage pregnancy severely curtails girls and young women’s opportunity and hinders their ability to reach their full potential.
“A young adolescent girl can be an asset for her country if she is not married off during her childhood, if she is not forced to leave school or exposed to an unplanned pregnancy that puts her to high risk of illness.”