IT was recently reported that 1, 800 teenagers fell pregnant in Eastern Province. The high teenage pregnancy prevalence rate is not only shocking but also detrimental to the future of the girl-child. This is because most of the victims are school going.
Some of the teenage pregnant girls are married by the men who made them pregnant while others are not married. The latter creates more burden on their parents and guardians.
It is unfortunate that most teenage pregnancy cases are reported in Eastern Province and surely something must be done to avert the scourge. Essentially, the high number of teenage girls falling pregnant defeats the whole purpose of promoting the girl-child education.
Moreover, it goes without saying that when you educate the man you educate the person and when you educate the woman you educate the nation. Hence, the need to prioritise the girl-child education. This does not mean that the boy-child should not have access to education.
The Zambian Constitution as the supreme law of the land puts it abundantly clear that having carnal knowledge with a girl below the age of 16 with or without her consent is tantamount to committing defilement.
Defilement is a felony meaning that it is a serious criminal offence which attracts a jail sentence of 14 years or more. However, President Edgar Lungu and some traditional rulers have been spearheading the fight against teenage pregnancies and child marriages. Fighting these vices is a noble cause and those championing the vices must be lauded.
Therefore, the men responsible for the teenage pregnancies in Eastern Province must be nabbed, prosecuted and jailed upon conviction. This will deter would-be offenders. It seems like the problem of teenage pregnancy in Eastern Province is getting out of hand as attested by the high number of girls falling pregnant every year.