KAROI rural district is battling a surge in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and teen pregnancies owing to an unprecedented rise in risky sexual behavior by young people.
By Kudakwashe Pembere recently in Hurungwe
This emerged at the International Condom Day commemorations in the district on Saturday. Officiating the event, Hurungwe district administrator Ms Makepeace Muzenda said there was a spike in new STI cases.
“There is a lot of traffic in our town, there by meaning a lot of sexual activity that also happens. As a town we have not been spared from the struggle with an increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and a high number of teenage pregnancies.
“In 2017 there were 4, 486 new STI cases, whilst in 2018 there were 4 495 new cases,” she said.
Teenage pregnancies were also on the rise in the district registering over 3 000 cases in a year.
“A total of 3, 759 adolescent girls aged between 10-19 years booked for antenatal care in 2018 alone. Sadly this is the age that these young girls are supposed to be in school and yet they find themselves pregnant meaning there is a lot of unprotected sex happening,” added Ms Muzenda.
Karoi District Medical Officer Dr Annamore Mutisi said they are adequately stocked with male and female condoms.
Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council Assistant Director for Marketing and Communication Mr Martin Mukaronda said contraceptives currently available in the country are more inclined to the female.
“We have got the pills, we have got the injectables, and we have got implants. These are all used by the females. But for males we have the male condoms and female condoms which can also be used by the males. That’s what it is now,” he said.
He added that the pill is on demand than other contraceptive methods among females.
“As you may also realise currently, the use of contraceptives is more tilted to the short term which is the pill. But we have been on the drive to encourage and promote irreversible contraceptives like the implants and the loop,” he said.
With Karoi being an economic hub in Mashonaland West Province endowed with a lot of agricultural activity, it is also near Chirundu which borders Zambia where teenage girls have fallen prey to truck drivers and farmers
A Hurungwe resident said it is disheartening to see children aged between 10 and 14 at some guest houses.
“We have children in Karoi, whom we see at guest houses and lodges. We ask them where their parents are and they run away. The guest house owners argue that they do not mind whatever age as all they want is the money,” he said.