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Six thousand girls quit school in Dar

By Naomi Njoroge
Monday, April 19th, 2021
Pregnant schoolgirls. Activists have called for establishing of more children’s courts across the country. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary
    • At least 6,475 schoolgirls in Tanzania dropped out of school in 2020 over pregnancy
    • In Tanzania, a law passed in 2002 allows for the expulsion of pregnant schoolgirls.
    • Over 400,000 teenagers between 10 and 19 years of age get pregnant annually.

At least 6,475 schoolgirls in Tanzania dropped out of school in 2020 over pregnancy,
Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said on Saturday. Majaliwa said among the girls, 1,135 were from primary and 5,340 from secondary schools.

According to XINHUA, the Prime Minister revealed the teenage pregnancy figures when he launched the National Agenda for investing in Health and Development for Adolescents in the capital of Dodoma, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office. “This alarming situation is unacceptable.

In Tanzania, a law passed in 2002 allows for the expulsion of pregnant schoolgirls.

The law says the girls can be expelled and excluded from school for "offenses against morality" and "wedlock".

Women's rights groups have recently been urging the government to change the law.

Each one of us should ensure that girls are protected to enable them to
complete their education,” said Majaliwa, who reiterating anyone implicated with impregnating a schoolgirl should be jailed.

This comes a time when Non-governmental organisations working on reproductive health have warned that global lockdowns led to rising rates of adolescent pregnancy.

In Kenya, some preliminary data suggests that is happening.

Some 948 schoolgirls get pregnant every day, shocking statistics contained in a report by the Ministry of Health indicate.

The report further reveals that one in every 10 adolescent girls is either pregnant or have started the child bearing process.

Again, 13,000 girls drop out of school due to pregnancy every year, according to Demographic Health Information System; an online data platform launched by the Ministry of Health to map maternal and neonatal information countrywide

 The report also reveals that over 400,000 teenagers between 10 and 19 years of age get pregnant annually, a report by the ministry of Health indicates.

“Some 378,687 adolescents between 15-19 years and 20,444 adolescents between 10-14 years presented with pregnancies in health facilities in 2019,” reads the report released over the weekend.

Another report released by the National Council on Population and Development (NCPD) in 2018, revealed that one in five girls aged between 15-19 years in Kenya is either pregnant or has already given birth.

In the far northern town of Lodwar, teenage pregnancies among clients of the International Rescue Committee aid group nearly tripled to 625 in June-August this year, compared with 226 in the same period a year earlier, IRC data show.