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Condoms for 10 year olds spark outrage

by Staff reporter
23 Sep 2013 at 08:53hrs | Views
THE government's decision to provide contraceptives such as condoms and birth control pills to young children has sparked outrage with parents saying the move will backfire.

At least 91 centres reportedly operated by the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council have begun dispensing contraceptives to children as young as 10.

Bernard Madzima, a director of family health in the Health and Child Care ministry told State media the decision to dispense the contraceptives was taken to stem an upsurge in child pregnancies.

He said a legal framework was needed to align the policy with laws regarding sexual relations for minors.

But parents interviewed yesterday said the policy would encourage children to engage in sexual activities early.

Shylet Maravanyika (50), a cross-border trader from Harare, said the move would encourage premarital sex and prostitution.

"This is wrong; totally wrong," she said. "We cannot accept this.

"Instead of giving pupils contraceptives, there should be a sustained effort to educate the pupils about the importance of abstinence. Pregnancy itself is a deterrent measure. Pupils should be taught that not only do they get pregnant through unprotected premarital sex, but that they could also get infected with various diseases including HIV and Aids."

Maravanyika said people should go back to tradition where parents took a leading role in educating their children about the need to abstain from sexual activities until they were mature. She said condoms should never be allowed in schools.

Regai Mutinima (30), another Harare resident, said if girls were to be given an "open cheque" to indulge in unprotected sex because of the easy access to contraceptives, the HIV and Aids scourge would worsen.

"Pupils should be taught to abstain. If they are given child control methods, they will indulge in unprotected sex and contract sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and Aids," he said.

"They should not be allowed to be indulging in sexual activities at all while at school."

He said it was important for pupils to be taught the Bible so that they could know that God does not allow premarital sex.

Cephas Dungwa (61) said he was against the idea of allowing pupils access to contraceptives because it would encourage children to be promiscuous.

"This would be permitting prostitution. Such a law should never be allowed in the country. It will encourage prostitution," he said.

However, schoolchildren interviewed yesterday said they welcomed the move, saying sexual activity among schoolchildren was a reality.

"It is real. Schoolchildren have sex, especially when they are out on sporting activities or other school activity camps where they spend days away from school," said a teenage girl in Form Four.

"We are only afraid of pregnancy and we welcome the move (to distribute contraceptives). We prefer pills or injectables because condoms are not 100 safe."

Princes Amajouyi (19) from Bulawayo said instead of giving pupils access to contraceptives, government should find the reasons why adolescents indulge in sex.

She said the decision to give contraceptives to pupils would create more complex problems. She said more youths from Bulawayo were indulging in sex especially after school because they were unemployed.

She said some contraceptives if used at a tender age could cause complications when one needed to have children in future.

Some contraceptives, like flavoured condoms, she said, caused cancer and other problems.

Nomagugu Sibanda (19) from Tegela in Bulawayo said youths should be sufficiently educated so that they could shun premature sexual activities.

Source - southerneye