Article paru dans ADVANCE | 22 – 29 Mars, 2013 – 08:00 | Par FOKEERBUX N.A.
Over the last ten years, the issue of teenage pregnancy is becoming alarming. For those aged between 10 – 24 years (23.6% of the population) live births as at end 2011 represented some 36% of all live births despite a net decreasing trend for total youngsters (10 – 24 years) for a marriage age for both males and females above 25 years in average.
Statistics Mauritius figures clearly show an increase in teenage parents (< 19 years); being steadily on the rise.
In the same beeline, two of our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) namely: Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality and Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health; are closely linked to the prevalent situation.
Sexual activities are occurring at tender ages (before 12 years) and hap-hazard discovery of own sexuality, misinformation, lack of information on sexual and reproductive health and inactive efforts towards the introduction of sex education in spheres of child development in a rapidly changing society where social, cultural, moral and technological dynamics are not under check, lead to teenage pregnancy and teenage parents.
With numerous health-related complications and social and economical problems, indeed, teenage pregnancy remains one of the many qualms to be addressed. Risks of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), infant mortality, bleeding, social rejection of the teenage parent and/or the child, early drop-out from education; amongst others, which furthers societal problems, do not leave one insensitive.
There is no denying the fact that sex education is misconceived by many as: how to have sex. In spite of this misconception and disregard of responsibilities by parents to teach their child on sexuality themselves, many people are favourable to introduction of sex education in the education system.
Age-bound sex education must, in a holistic manner; cover the following:
- Signs of sexual development in youngsters
- Children Rights
- What are the can and can’t?
- How to?
- Health related risks
- Gender and identity
- Laws, etc.
In 2012, a tremendous effort for the rights of women and children in terms of decriminalisation of abortion – kept in drawers since 2005 – under certain circumstances, as a curative means, has been made. Nevertheless, we remain much at a standstill concerning Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights. Quizzically enough, The Criminal Code – a relic of the Colonial Era – still governs an Independent and a Republic Mauritius!
Much fears, from and by conservatives, often hinder progressive efforts. Nonetheless, with proper planning and through broadened dialogues among various stakeholders and their engagement towards objectives and goals, progressive efforts do bear fruits..