TANZANIA Media Women’s Association, Zanzibar (TAMWA ZNZ) has asked all Zanzibaris to campaign against childhood pregnancies, which subject teenagers to untold physical and psychological suffering.
TAMWA ZNZ Director Dr Mzuri Issa said here over the weekend that the problem can be addressed through joint efforts by community members, including religious leaders, politicians and gender activists.
She said her organisation has received shocking reports about a girl of under 15-year old being raped, impregnated and dying during delivery.
The girl, according to her parent, died in Pemba North region’s Wete District on June 25, 2020. TAMWA ZNZ has conducted a survey on the effects of child pregnancies, establishing many problems like physical and psychological trauma as well as deaths.
Health Expert with Mnazi Mmoja Hospital’s maternity unit Dr Kamilia Ali Omar said child pregnancies could lead to fistulas, cervical cancer and other diseases that occur due to immature organs in the body of young girls.
“Giving birth under the age of 18 is life-threatening for both the mother and her baby because her pelvic is not mature enough to push the baby, it therefore puts the parent at risk of getting fistula or dying,” Dr Kamilia said, recommending first birth at the age of at least 20 years.
A psychologist from Zanzibar School of Health, Ms Asya Saleh Abdullatif, said child pregnancies lead to mental congestion that can lead to unnecessary fainting or mental illness.
Ms Asya further said that child pregnancies lead to frequent outbursts where the carrier may commit a terrible mistake against her or someone else which could cause harm.
TAMWA ZNZ has identified four factors that lead to child pregnancies—rape, forced marriage, child marriage and sexual inducement.
Zanzibar’s Education and Vocational Training Ministry has reported 88 cases of child pregnancies and 50 child marriages in the past three years.