by TZN Correspondent Family planning, condoms, and all contraceptives must be accessible to sexually active teenagers as a measure to reduce teenage pregnancy , adolescent HIV and STD’s in the county ,MDC-T Legislator and chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health Dr Ruth Labode has proposed.
Speaking during a Parliamentary session Tuesday , Dr Labode asked Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Emerson Mnangagwa to look into the legislation to ensure necessary changes are made so that sexually active teenagers are treated like an adults and access to those services that are usually available to those 18 and above.
“I just stand to support the issue of age of consent to be moved to 18 but I have a different view as a medical person who believes that the child marriages that we have are caused by poverty. If a child is kicked out of school at the age of 14 years, she will be hanging around the shopping centre, meet some guys and have sex whereby she will not be able to access a condom since she is young.
However, she will have sex and get infected with a sexually transmitted disease which she cannot again go and seek treatment for because the Ministry of Health and Child Care says you have to be above 18, whatever age you can put. So, I am asking the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs – I am not a lawyer but I am telling you that our teenage pregnancies are increasing; our adolescent HIV and STD’s are ballooning. Even though we have been so successful, our problem is this age group and it is suffering because it has no access to services because we have put some ridiculous law. So, I am asking you to put a clause, even if you take it to 18 or where, put a clause that whilst you are sexually active you must be treated like an adult and the access to those services. Family planning, condoms, and all contraceptives must be accessible because it is happening. So we must face reality”, she said.