A secondary school in Chirumanzu district in Midlands province has been hit by a spate of student pregnancies, recording a staggering 16 pregnancies in the past 10 months.
National Aids Council (NAC) district co-ordinator for Chirumanzu Gwatirisa Masara revealed the shocking statistics at Orton Drift Secondary School in Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency last week.
“One of the impediments to our HIV intervention programmes in this area is the issue of teenage pregnancies. At this secondary school there are about 10 students who are sitting for O’Level examinations and they are said to be pregnant,” he said.
A senior teacher at the school confirmed that at least 16 students had fallen pregnant since February.
“It’s true we are facing this as one of our greatest challenges. We have recorded 16 teen pregnancies and some of these children have eloped while others are writing their O’Level examinations,” he said.
The senior teacher said the students were falling prey to artisanal miners in the area, most of whom earn their wages in United States dollars.
“The problem is that most of these girls are coming from poverty-stricken families and are exposed to these miners who would be having United States dollars,” the teacher said.
The secondary school, with an enrolment of 305, uses some old farm cottages to accommodate students from distant communities.
“We do not have a fence here and these miners can walk into the cottages willy-nilly flashing their wads of US dollars. Most of these students will at the end of the day fall for this and give in considering their poor backgrounds,” the teacher said.
Masara said NAC was organising sensitisation meetings with community leaders and parents to help curb the scourge.
— The Standard