More than 4 000 girls aged between 10 and 14 years fell pregnant and were booked to deliver babies at health institutions in Zimbabwe between 2019 and 2021.
This was revealed in the National Assessment on Adolescent Pregnancies in Zimbabwe report based on a study by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in conjunction with UNICEF and UNESCO. Part of the report reads:
An estimated 1 706 946 ANC (antenatal care) bookings were made in 1 560 health care facilities captured in the DHIS (Demographic and Health Survey) platform across the study period (four years, January 2019 to December 2022).
Of these 0,2 percent (4 070) were among the age groups 10-14 years; 21 percent (355 962) among 15-19 years; 28 percent (473 475) among the 20-24 years; 21 percent (357 328) among the 25-29 and 30 percent (516 111) above 30 years.
2021 had the highest number of pregnant adolescent girls aged 10-14 years.
21 percent of ANC booking from 2019-2022 were among adolescents aged 10-19 years.
The report attributes the increasing incidences of pregnancy among adolescents to the closure of schools and a reported rise in cases of domestic violence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, a total of 1 532 maternal d£aths were recorded and of these, 376 (25 percent) were among adolescents and young women under 24 years between 2019 and 2021.
Some of the pregnant adolescent girls were testing positive for HIV upon booking at antenatal clinics. Says the report:
Of the estimated 50 957 pregnant women newly testing HIV positive, 0,1 percent were among adolescents aged 10-14 years.
About 0,2 percent of adolescents aged 10-14 years old tested HIV positive in 2021, compared to 0,04 percent in 2019; 0,1 percent in 2020; and 0,04 percent in 2022.
The study also found that 30 percent of adolescent girls were s£xually active, with about 31 percent (134) reported having had forced intercourse in their first s£xual encounter.
The report revealed that approximately 75 percent (315) of the first s£xual encounter was with boyfriends, only 23 percent (97) with husbands, 1,5 percent (10) with strangers, 0,8 percent (6) with relatives, and 0,1 percent (2) with casual partners.