Teen pregnancies in Kavango regions worrisome: gender ministry

16 Sep 2016 15:20pm
RUNDU, 16 SEP (NAMPA) – More than 3 600 girls in the Kavango East and West regions aged between 12 and 19 years gave birth to one or more children in 2014.
These figures were contained in a 2014 report by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) and presented by Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) representative, Benson Matali here on Tuesday.
Matali said during the regional gender permanent taskforce consultative meeting organised by the ministry the same day, it surfaced that the two regions have the highest number of girls of this age with one or more children (3 653).
The //Kharas Region has the lowest number at 464.
According to the 2011 national census data, the two Kavango regions have a population of 223 352.
“Looking at these numbers, they are worrisome and the leadership in the regions should do something to tackle these issues,” Matali said while doing his presentation on gender-related statistics from the two regions.
The number of girls of the same age who are traditionally married is 1 259 for both the Kavango East and West regions.
This is also higher than in other regions.
Matali said the legal age of marriage according to the Namibian Constitution is 21 years.
However, individuals under the age of 18 years may marry with permission from their parents or with the written permission of the gender and child welfare minister, or any staff member in the Public Service authorised by the minister.
He, however said girls aged between 12 and 19 years who get married traditionally in the two Kavango regions remain a big concern.
With regard to child-headed households, Matali said out of 36 741 households surveyed in the Kavango East and West regions, 135 households are headed by children, even though their parents are still alive.
Out of the 36 741 households surveyed, 231 are headed by orphans.