The Ministry of General Education (MoGE) in Chienge District has expressed sadness at the high number of school pupils accessing family planning services in the area.
Chienge District Education Board Secretary, (DEBS) James Chibuye says the policy of the Ministry of General Education is to enforce total sexual abstinence by pupils so that they concentrate on their education.
ZANIS Reports that the DEBS expressed the concern during a meeting of the District Technical Working Group on Adolescent Health held in the Chienge Town Council Chambers recently.
Responding to the concern by the Chienge DEBS, District Adolescent Health Coordinator, Christopher Mbewe called for a coordinated and balanced approach to resolving the matter.
Mr Mbewe, who is also at the Chienge District Health Office (DHO) Nursing Officer admitted that health facilities in the area provide family planning services to female pupils, adding that whoever goes to a Health Facility to seek a service is treated as a “client”.
“As Ministry of Health, the issue is that we do not just dish out contraceptive to everyone but we carry out a vigorous process that involves counselling, explaining the side effects of the contraceptives, checking the marital status of a client, as well as the number of Children the woman has,” the Chienge District Adolescent Health Coordinator said.
The Technical Working Group also expressed concern at the high number of adolescents engaging in early marriage and unplanned pregnancies.
The concern comes after a report that in the Second Quarter of 2020 a total of 36 Adolescents had delivered from the Chienge District Hospital while more other cases were recorded from the other 12 Health Facilities located around the District.
And speaking in a separate interview, Chienge District Administrative Officer, Abraham Kachipansi called for more concerted efforts by organisations in fighting vices facing adolescents through teamwork and being alert to issues happening in the district.
Mr Kachipans who is also the District Technical Working Group on Adolescent Health Chairperson, commended government for opening up a One-Stop Centre at Chienge District Hospital to deal with the high Sexual and Gender Based Violence cases in the area.
He said the One-Stop Centre will go a long way in ending the high Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGVB) cases that are recorded in the District.
The District Administrative Officer said reassured that his Committee will engage the Ministries of Health and General Education to seek clarity on the issue of school girls accessing Family Planning Services from health facilities when the policy by the education sector is abstinence.
The meeting drew attendance from district administration, the local authority, the district health office and the district education board secretary’s office.