‘Zim grappling with high teen maternal mortality rate’

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As Zimbabwe grapples with the teen pregnancies crisis, a census report has revealed that maternal mortality is highest among this group.

Although on average the maternal mortality (MMR) has declined from an all-time high of 960 deaths per every 100 000 live births to 544, the figure was still too high and of concern is that teenage mothers were the worst affected.

teenage pregnancy

“Issues of adolescent fertility are of great concern to the Health ministry,” the family health director in the Health ministry Bernard Madzima said.

He said the likelihood of teenage mothers dying at birth remained high as they might not yet have developed physically.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, causes of teenage pregnancy are multifaceted. Puberty is a time of rapid biological change in a young person and this stage of development needs to be well managed for young people to pass through it safely.

Lack of adequate and accurate medical information on puberty leaves young people dependent on uninformed peer sources or unguided Internet searches for information.

Some cultural or religious norms such as child marriage also contribute to teenage pregnancy.

The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey for 2010/2011 reports that 92% of all sexually active women aged 15 to 19 are in some form of marriage, and 28% of women who first had sex before age 15 report that the sex was forced against their will.

Meanwhile, the trend by Zimbabwean men of remarrying more often than women and targeting the young age group has negative implications on the spread of HIV and Aids which accounts for about 26% of maternal deaths.

This was revealed during the dissemination of the 2012 census thematic analysis results which indicated that men tended to remarry soon after marriage dissolution while women remained single.

“This is an issue of concern because it has a bearing on rampant spread of HIV and Aids,” said Marvellous Mhloyi, a consultant.

While presenting on the nuptiality (marriage) and fertility (current reproductive performance of a woman) thematic report, she said evidence at hand suggested that men who become single as a result of death or divorce do not necessarily marry their age mates but younger women, some of whom have never been married-Newsday