A Senior education standards officer in Solwezi district in North Western Province says the cooperation between the Ministries of General Education and Health is yielding results in promoting sexual reproductive health rights in schools.
Mr Borniface Kanema who is Senior Education Officer for Special Education under the Province Education Office says Comprehensive Sexual Education is not about teaching Children on how to have sex but to give them correct information on their physiological make up for them to make informed decision on matters of sex.
“The cooperation between the Ministry of General Education and Ministry of Health is now yielding results because our children are now able to access services on Comprehensive Health Sexual Education,” he said.
Speaking when he gave a report on Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child Adolescent Health, at the end of year stakeholders meeting organized by the Ministry of Health, Mr. Kanema said the adolescents are human beings with different health issues in need of help on sexual matters so that they are protected from early marriages, pregnancies and eventually HIV/Aids.
He said Comprehensive Sexual Education was introduced in Schools because of the alarming numbers of school dropouts due to pregnancy every year.
“In Northwestern province, pregnancies was the 3rd major reason for dropouts in 2017 with 1,226 accounting for 18.9 percent of the total dropouts.
Mr Kanema said 28 percent of the adolescent girls became pregnant before the age of 18 years according to the Zambia Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS 2013/2014).
He said the Ministry of General Education has the mandate of providing information to adolescent and young people in Schools through advocates to increase awareness on the consequences of early and unwanted pregnancies.
“We sensitize them on the consequences of child marriages, Sexually Transmitted Infections, un-safe abortion, Gender Based Violence, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS through curriculum activities in Schools,” he added.
Mr Kanema said it is not possible that teachers in schools can start teaching children how to do sex.
Provincial Health Office Principal Nursing Officer Hellen Mahamba called for concerted efforts in making parents understand that Comprehensive Sexual Education is not about teaching learners on how to engage in sex.
“You should help us to sensitize parents on this issue. There is a lot of misunderstanding and fears,” she said.
She said early pregnancies has done a lot of damage to Adolescent girls because of lack of information on Sexual issues.
Ms Mahamba said Comprehensive Sexual Education is there to protect lives of the adolescent in schools and outside.
She said traditional leaders have been engaged and that they are taking a leading role now.