TEENAGE pregnancies, which are a major contributor to maternal and child mortality, remain high at 22% in the country as a result of lack of family planning information and services at their disposal, Population Services Zimbabwe (PSZ) has revealed.
Teenage and adolescent girls, especially those in rural communities and other marginalised communities, do not have access to information on contraceptives despite government targeting to reduce the rate to 12% by 2020.
Speaking on the sidelines of a civic society consultative meeting in Harare yesterday, PSZ country director Abebe Shibru said there was need to a develop youth-friendly environment at centres that provide sexual reproductive health services.
“Zimbabwe is a young generation country and lack of access to information to youths is also a huge cause for teenage pregnancies to be at 22%, which is very high. Some of the young people are shy to access these family planning services, hence, there is need to conscientise society on these issues.
“There is need to create demand for family planning services and to formulate youth-friendly health provision that can help reduce these teenage pregnancies,” Shibru said.
Lack of access to family planning information has resulted in an increase in complications during pregnancy, maternal mortality and child mortality in Zimbabwe.
Shibru also said that there was need for community mobilisation in newly-urbanised areas such as Ushewokunze and Harare South, as these areas lack proper facilities that can spearhead access to sexual reproductive health services.
Lack of family planning information and proper services has also resulted in a sharp increase in unsafe abortions resulting in death.
Civic society organisations are lobbying for safe abortions to reduce maternal deaths.