Teens 'falling pregnant to get grants'
Polokwane - Teenagers are falling pregnant to access social grants to alleviate poverty, according to a report by the Limpopo health and social department on Tuesday.
The report was issued after the department conducted a three-month study into teenage pregnancies and factors forcing children to abandon their education.
The report found 15.5% of participants fell pregnant to access child support grants. This behaviour forced children into inter-generational relationships, with contraceptives largely ignored.
Thirty two percent of participants had multiple sexual partners but this was not seen as a major contributor to teenage pregnancy, stated the report.
Head of Demography and Research, Itani Ntsieni, said some teenagers were denied access to contraceptives, being turned away from clinics because health workers believed it was a criminal offence to have sex as a teenager.
“The study recommends that there is need to reinforce child sexual rights. Some of the pupils did not know that it was an offence [to] have sex below the age of 16,” said Ntsieni.
Ntsieni said a growing trend emerging in the Mopani and Waterberg regions was families forcing their school-going children to fall pregnant, a problem facing educators as teen pregnancies had increased.