Poverty contributes to teenage pregnancies

Tuesday October 9 2018


Poverty has been identified as a leading cause of teenage pregnancies in most parts of Rwanda. PHOTO | Cyril NDEGEYA  

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Poverty has been identified as a leading cause of teenage pregnancies in most parts of the country.

The latest statistics on the rate of teenage pregnancies by the National Women Council signal that teenagers from poor families are the ones mostly targeted for pre-marital sex.

Pregnancy among teenage girls in the country show an increase from 6.1 per cent to 7.3 per cent according to the 2014/2015 Demographic and Health Survey.

Activists are now calling for measures to reduce cases of teenage pregnancies and illegal abortions, which may result in death as well as school drop outs.

For instance, Barbra Mbabazi (not real name) was forced to drop out of school at the age of 16 due to an unplanned pregnancy. She was impregnated by a man who provided her with financial assistance.

Jeannette Bayisenga, president of the National Council for Women, said children born to young mothers are at increased risk of sickness and death. Mothers are also more limited from pursuing their education.

Ms Bayisenga said that in most parts of Eastern Province, teenage pregnancy is a problem, pointing to poverty as the underlying factor.

“There is a need to keep girls in school, putting away disparities in schools, promoting school health and youth-friendly health services at the facility level,” she said.

According to Esperance Nyirasafari, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, the government is committed to increasing efforts to effectively deal with poverty, family wrangles, and early pregnancies among teenage girls.