Tshwane facilities have delivered 9 922 teenage pregnancies of girls aged between 10 and 15 over the past three years.
The Tshwane metro has raised concerns over the high number of teenage pregnancies recorded at its public health facilities.
Mayoral spokesperson Sipho Stuurman said facilities have over the past three years recorded nearly 10 000 teenage deliveries.
“This figure represents a concerning high incidence of teenage pregnancies in the metro,” he said.
“Between July 2019 and June 2021, the city recorded 9 922 teenage deliveries by 674 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years and a further 9 248 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years giving birth.”
Stuurman said the high number of teenage pregnancies had many socio-economic consequences which sometimes led to babies being abandoned, given up for adoption. This places an additional burden on the child welfare system.
“Furthermore, teenage pregnancies present a lot of challenges, which include health, education (school dropouts) and financial stress,” he said.
“The Tshwane metro would like to encourage young people to abstain from risky behaviour that may lead to early or unwanted pregnancies.
“Teenage early sexual activity also increases the risk of contracting and spreading sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.”
He advised teenagers and their parents to visit municipal clinics for services such as free contraceptives.
Clinics also offer relevant information on teenage pregnancy, choices on the possible termination of pregnancy and available contraceptives. The facilities provide health promotion leaflets in various languages.
They also have “happy hour” sessions between 14:00 and 15:00 daily where teenagers get preference to receive related health services and advice.
“Now is the time for all of us, including parents, teachers, church leaders and the community at large, to act decisively to help our future leaders to make informed and responsible decisions,” Stuurman said.