Just News |
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the declaration of the National State of Disaster and a national lockdown to limit the spread of the virus, amplified the need to scale up targeted interventions to address the sexual and reproductive health and rights of teenagers.
Since the onset of the pandemic, South Africa experienced a spike in the rate of teenage pregnancy, with reports suggesting an increase of over 60% in some parts of the country.
According to the Department of Health’s National Adolescent and Youth Health Policy, last year alone, KwaZulu-Natal had 269 girls aged between 10-14 years who gave birth – with the uMkhanyakude District recording the highest rate of teenage pregnancies among children of the same age. Long before COVID-19, teenage pregnancy has, and remains, a serious developmental challenge as it jeopardises the health and educational outcomes of the girl child.
As part of the Government’s ongoing measures to address this challenge, this year’s Child Protection Week education and awareness campaign – held under the theme: “Let us Protect Children During COVID-19 and Beyond”, the Minister of Social Development – Lindiwe Zulu – will highlight this issue during her interaction with the community of Nhlabane at Kwambonambi, KwaZulu-Natal.
Minister Zulu will be joined by the MEC of Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza and local leaders to mark the official closing of this year’s campaign. Other activities to amplify child protection will continue throughout the country as part of the 365 National Plan of Action for Children.