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Fifteen with a baby all alone, teenage pregnancy still a challenge in Namibia

It's a bitterly cold Friday morning, but 15-year-old Anna Garises rises early to take her baby for a six-week check-up at the Robert Mugabe Clinic, situated in the central business district of Windhoek,the capital of Namibia.


She is visiting the capital city from northern town of Rundu, which is 700 kilometers away and has slept over at her sister’s place the night before.

teenage pregnancy
Anna is reserved and shy, she has had to grow up quickly over the past year…

Two weeks after giving birth, she was forced to travel from Rundu to Windhoek to live with her sister temporarily after she had been mistreated by an aunt in the home where she was living.

Anna sat in the corner of Robert Mugabe Clinic, holding her baby close to her chest to keep the child warm.

From her body language, one can tell that the young mother is nervous and tense as she feels pressure from the stares that the much older women waiting in line are giving her.

They saw that she is a child-mother and they silently ‘accused’ her of doing something wrong, which makes Anna’s situation even worse.

Anna got pregnant last year when she was 14 years old, after sleeping with her 19-year-old boyfriend once, when her aunt was out of town.

“It was my first time, and he was my first boyfriend. I really thought I had met my soul mate. He was the love of my life and I honestly thought I was his,” she said.

It took her pregnancy to know the boy’s true colours, after he denied responsibility, distanced himself from Anna and left to live with his brother in another area.

The young girl did not know what had happened to herself despite the changes in her body, until four months later, one of her teachers finally sat her down and spoke to her.

“It was a very traumatic moment for me, I was shocked because I never thought having sex once would actually make me pregnant,” she said.

After finally confirming the pregnancy, Anna shut herself off from the world.

“It was as if I was a zombie. I stopped smiling or even talking to people,” she said.

She went into a depressive state and her family thought that she would commit suicide…

Anna’s story is sadly not a unique one, as adolescent pregnancy remains prevalent, particularly in the rural areas.

According to the 2013 Namibia Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), roughly one out of five teenagers aged 15 to 19 surveyed in 2013 were either pregnant or had given birth.

This finding indicated that 19 percent of young women in that age range had begun child bearing.

A 2014 national HIV sentinel survey, which surveys pregnant women found a similar trend, reporting that of all pregnant women surveyed during the course of the project, 17 percent were between 15 to 19 years.

Health workers report that unprotected sex among teens has, over the years, resulted in an upsurge in adolescent pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Compounding the problem is a lack of knowledge about sexual reproductive health among many teenagers.

Reports show that, children, some as young as 12 years, are beginning to experiment with sex, because they are inherently curious about the ‘unknown’ of sex, succumb to social pressure, suffer from low self-esteem and more easily fall prey to sexual abuse. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/News Ghana

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