Reduce Adolescent Pregnancies (RAP) Campaign Launched

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The government through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services has launched the Reduce Adolescent Pregnancies (RAP) campaign with the aim of preventing early and unintended adolescent pregnancies in Zambia.

Speaking during the official launch of the campaign in Lusaka yesterday, Vice President Mutale Nalumango, who was represented by Minister of Community Development and Social Services Doreen Mwamba stated that the launch of the Reduce Adolescent Pregnancies Campaign is one of the government’s many interventions towards the high prevalence of teenage pregnancies in the country.

Ms Nalumango mentioned that adolescent pregnancies are a threat to national development, and the government is working in close collaboration with various stakeholders in scaling up efforts towards the issue.

“As the government, we are certain that all efforts coupled with this campaign will see a big reduction in adolescent pregnancies,” Ms Nalumango said

The Vice President has since encouraged children to make the right decisions, and get the necessary required skills that will enable them to be productive citizens in future.

And Ms Mwamba whose Ministry seats the Child Development Department said her Ministry is strengthening sensitization and training programmes targeted at vulnerable households and individuals, as many incidences of adolescent pregnancies occur because of factors associated with poverty and vulnerability.

In a speech read on Ms Mwamba’s behalf by Child Development Department Director Bridget Mooya, the Minister cited that her Ministry is also enhancing the welfare and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable people, by reducing developmental inequalities and mitigating violence against women and children, among others.

She added that the view where girls are seen as assets and are exchangeable for marriage through monetary gains, this and many other cases of this nature are worrying but working together with various stakeholders will hold the power to change this cause and help the adolescent girls.

“This is the reason as to why we are meeting today and having this launch,” she said

Ms Mwamba noted with gladness that the meeting underscores the urgency and importance of accelerating efforts towards empowering girls with education, as it is the best equalizer in life.

“The danger is that if we seat and do nothing, we are exposing the adolescent girls to mere statistics, vulnerabilities, and citizens held down by overwhelmed poverty levels in homes and society at large,” Ms Mwamba said

She added that this further limits the participation of girls and women in social economic development in various sectors.

“I am happy to note that as stakeholders we are committed to addressing this very explosive situation which we have at hand, because as a country we have not done much,” Ms Mwamba said

And the Minister of Education Douglas Syakalima who was represented by the Ministry Director´s for Health and Nutrition Malalu Mulundika, stated that statistics shows that 16, 419 girls dropped out of school in 2020 because of pregnancy and that only 7, 954 were re-admitted.

Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo represented by the Ministry`s Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Professor Luckson Kasonka, stressed the need to empower adolescents with knowledge and information on condoms as dual protection against pregnancy and Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) and on contraceptives to help prevent unplanned pregnancy.

Meanwhile, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative Gift Malunga assured the Government and Zambia of the UN`s support towards ending adolescent pregnancies in the Country.

And giving a vote of thanks on behalf of her fellow children Sithembile Mwale thanked the government and other stakeholders for their efforts towards ending adolescent pregnancies in Zambia, which she described as an urgent issue which must be addressed.

Also present at the event was Youth, Sport and Art Minister Elvis Nkandu, British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley and other various stakeholders.