Pre-teens given birth control injections

2011-09-13 09:35
Port Elizabeth - Girls aged between 10 and 13 were injected with contraceptives at their primary school in Zwide, Port Elizabeth, according to a news report on Tuesday.

Nandipha Ngalo's 11-year-old daughter was one of those who the Dora Nginza Hospital’s family planning unit injected at Emzomncane Primary, The Herald reported.

“My concern is what effect this will have on my daughter because she hasn’t even started menstruating,” Ngalo said.

A Grade 6 pupil said the family planning unit gave them “a talk about menstruation and all that happens” and then injected each girl.

The unit told the girls that the injection would prevent pregnancy if they were raped.

Parents were called in afterwards and informed that their children had received birth control injections.

Thuleka January, the principal of the school, denied knowledge of the forced birth control, and referred questions to the Port Elizabeth district education department.

Nelson Mandela Bay gynaecologist Marcus van Heerden said the move was "totally unethical" and that the injection could delay puberty in such young girls.

Dr Ann Skelton, of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria, said: “You don’t just give a contraceptive willy-nilly".

Children below the age of 12 needed parental consent for reproductive health treatment, she said.

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