13 Apr 2019 10:20am
WINDHOEK, 13 APR (NAMPA) School going girls in the Kavango East and Zambezi regions have been found making use of the hormonal injection, a contraceptive, to avoid menstruation because they cannot afford sanitary products.
This was revealed by a member of the Gondwana Care Trust, Djini Visser in an interview with Nampa on Thursday.
She said the practice was discovered during an outreach programme to those regions with the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) in May 2018 to distribute reusable pads to four schools.
She added it came to light that girls from as early as 11 years were receiving free and regular hormonal injections from clinics.
On average none of the girls [at the schools] were menstruating at that time. I gave a few [sanitary pads] but they all use [the hormonal injection], Visser said.
The hormonal injection is a contraceptive method during which the progesterone hormone is introduced into the body to prevent the release of an egg from the ovaries.
In a separate interview with Nampa here on Friday, CAN chief executive officer Rolf Hansen said during the outreach programme, they learned that some of the girls were going on this form of family planning on their own initiative, others were being accompanied by their mothers.
Hansen added that although many girls were on family planning as a means to curb menstruation, others were using it as a pregnancy preventative method.
He said that CAN was also concerned about early sexual debut and sexual activity among very young people.
It falls in line with our research with the cervical cancer prevention campaign where we advocate for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to be given to school going girls from the age of nine to 12 years already because this is the sexual engagement age in Namibia, Hansen said further.
Contained in a World Health Organisation fact sheet, cervical cancer is the most common HPV-related disease.
HPV, which is a group of sexually transmitted viruses, has over 100 types of which 14 are cancer-causing and two are responsible for 70 per cent of cervical cancers and pre-cancerous cervical lesions.