By Romeo Takundwa
Girls rights movement, Shamwari Yemwanasikana has urged government to provide contraceptives for teenagers citing an increase in teenage pregnancies.
The girls empowerment organization is following up on recommendations made by the parliamentary portfolio committee on health and childcare last year.
In a statement, Shamwari Yemwanasikana said, “In 2020 the parliamentary committee on health and childcare embarked on public consultation meetings on the age of consent to Sexual Reproductive Health services and recommendations were made to the Ministry of Health and Childcare based on the findings from the consultations.
“In a nut shell, the portfolio committee recommended that parental consent should no longer be sought when accessing sexual reproductive health cases,” read the statement.
The recommendations made were however rejected by Minister of Health and Childcare, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who said local cultural and moral values do not encourage minors to engage in sexual activities.
Shamwari Yemwanasikana however maintained its stance adding that the rejection came at a time when teenage pregnancies have become another ‘pandemic’.
“We acknowledge that culture and morals are our founding values as a nation but given the times that we are living in, culture has evolved.
“We cannot deny that according to the situation on the ground, teenagers below the age of 16 years are sexually active, read the statement.
In March this year, Honorable Sithembiso Nyoni, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, and Small and Medium Enterprises Development, told parliament that nearly 5 000 teenagers fell pregnant during the national lockdown effected last year.