The Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela says that teenage pregnancies in the province are shocking.
Ntombela embarked on a Teenage Pregnancy Awareness Programme in Phuthaditjhaba, Qwaqwa, with Health MEC Montseng Tsiu and MEC of Social Development, Mamiki Qabathe. Ntombela said that 469 babies were delivered by girls aged between 14 and 19 in the 2020/21 financial year. She said that these are the stats from the Elisabeth Ross Hospital in Qwaqwa. She said that the very same hospital has further reported 109 deliveries by girls aged between 15 and 19 years since April.
“We have heard of girls as young as 10 falling pregnant. A ten-year-old falling pregnant is difficult to comprehend, but these are the days of our lives. This is an outrage! Girl children are losing their entire childhood because at the age of 15, they are already mothers. My fear is that we may only be scratching the surface and the numbers are high,” said Ntombela.
She reiterated that children should be preoccupied with school work and dreaming of brighter futures rather than raising babies. Ntombela was heading an informative and open programme where the Free State leadership engaged with learners, particularly girls, on issues of sexual harassment, rape, pregnancy, and sex education, amongst others at the Mampoi Secondary School in Qwaqwa. She challenged parents to play an active role and put a stop to teenage pregnancies and child abuse.