Dodoma. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has expressed its high commitment to support the Government of Tanzania to fight against teen pregnancies that have so far resulted in the high rate of school dropouts among girls from across the country.
Relevant statistics depicts that over five million children aged 7 to 17 are out of school because of teen pregnancies. Moreover, as per the current Tanzania Bureau of Statistics, about 21 per cent of Tanzanian girls aged 15 to 19 have given birth.
Giving an exclusive interview to The Citizen over the weekend in the sideline of commemoration of this year’s International Youth Day, Dr Hashina Begum from UNFPA named teenage pregnancies as a major barrier to Tanzanian’s socioeconomic progression.
She expressed that the only way the country could do away with the on-going menace of teen pregnancies was to impart the young generation with sounded sexual and reproductive education as well as provide them with better health services.
“Teen pregnancies stand tall among major challenges that derail socioeconomic development in many African countries, including Tanzania, thus it is of prudent for the Government of Tanzania to focus more attention on fighting against the matter,” she detailed.
However, Dr Begum assured Tanzania’s fifth phase government that UNFPA would continue to support the country in the war against teen pregnancies.
“We are very determined to continue cooperating with the government and other relevant stakeholders to uproot the causes of teenage pregnancies in Tanzania, basically by offering relevant education and awareness from grassroots levels,” she assured.
Dr Begum also underscored the need for the government to ensure young people took part in political, economic and social issues in their communities and the country in general and freely make informed choices regarding their bodies, sexuality and reproduction without discrimination, violence or coercion.
“UNFPA will continue cooperating with the government to empower young people in the country by giving them tools to become even more influential and productive actors in the societies,” she added.
For her part, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Parliamentary, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Ms Jenista Mhagama, said the fifth phase government was very keen on eradicating teenage pregnancies in the country, and assisting local youth in general.