By: Ludorf Iyambo
The director of women’s solidarity Namibia, Rosa Namises, said that parents should engage more in dialogues with their children on sexual intercourse to reduce the country’s high teenage pregnancy rate.
Speaking at a community and school mobilisation workshop on gender issues awareness and presentation and management of teenage pregnancy on Tuesday, Namises said that the country is in trouble, and parents should come together to fight the problem of teenage pregnancy in their society.
“We need to create an army of conscious parents, sympathetic parents, sensitive parents, and firm parents that will be speaking to more than their children. We need parents that will go out in the streets, parents that will talk in the house and those that will talk in the shebeen. That army of parents exists. We must organise ourselves,” said Namises.
Namises further said that when a girl child is educated, empowered, healthy and free from violence and discrimination, the community becomes more prosperous and stable.
She emphasised that parents hardly spoke about sex around their children in the past.
She added that, the ignorance did not help anything but only put life skills teachers in trouble.
Rosina David, a life skill teacher, said that parents should be more involved in information sharing and inspiration among their children.
She stated that many parents in society do not know how to start or where to start to have a conversation with their children about sexual intercourse.
“This is mostly affected by some parents’ upbringing and cultural values. It is a historical diversity of finding the right approach. We as parents ought to change this historical behaviour and find a fundamental way of speaking with our children,” said David.
One of the students who spoke on anonymity said that young people are inquisitive and said if parents fail to engage with them, they will always find out one way or another.
She further said that students who lack better communication with their parents are most likely at high risk of teenage pregnancy.
“Most of the time, they get information from their friends, social media, or older men that these children do not really know and can be negatively influenced. In most cases, our friends also don’t have answers that we might be asking,” she said.
Namibia had recorded 11 332 cases of teenage pregnancy from 2017 to 2021, and these were girls from 12 to 19 years of age.
The statistic shows that from 2017 to 2018, Namibia recorded 3 500 teenage pregnancy.
In 2019 the statistic indicated that Namibia recorded 2 943 pregnancies and Ohangwena region was the highest with 575 teenage pregnancy cases, and Hardap was the lowest with 38.
In 2020 the number escalated to 3 629, with the Omusati region being the highest with 562 cases and Kharas the lowest with at least 16 cases.
In 2021 the country recorded 1 260 cases of teenage pregnancy.
Namibia has a young population, with two thirds below the age of 35 years. The national teenage pregnancy rate stands at 19 per cent, which means that about every fifth woman aged 15 to 19 has begun childbearing.