On 31 August 2023, the TB HIV Care PPPrev Team joined the Deputy Minister of Health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, at the launch of a new inter-departmental campaign in eThekwini. The campaign, led by the Department of Basic Education and supported by TB HIV Care, aims to end social ills such as violence, bullying, gender-based violence, learner pregnancy, and drug and substance abuse that ultimately affect adolescents and young people (AYP).
Presenters echoed the same sentiments, highlighting that teenage pregnancy remains a considerable challenge in KZN schools. The Deputy Minister cautioned that once adolescent girls begin menstruating, they can fall pregnant, urging learners to abstain from early sexual debut.
“There is no benefit in using drugs and alcohol; however, this can increase your vulnerability to rape or pregnancy. As young people, you should have a plan for your life to navigate school and, ultimately, your career and be able to contribute to the economy of this country. I encourage every learner to take charge of their future and health outcomes,” said Dhlomo.
According to the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), the high teenage pregnancy rate contributes to the high drop-out rate in schools, thus harming the mother and child’s health, education and socio-economic status.
The social ills campaign follows TB HIV Care’s PPPrev Team’s recent launch of the ‘0% Learner Pregnancy’ campaign in eThekwini and the upcoming radio campaign which will shine a spotlight on the issue – just some of the intensive campaigns that PPPrev eThekwini has embarked on to end teenage pregnancy in the district.