Government to give birth control and condoms to 10-year-oldsBy Mason White 12:03 PM September 25, 2013
|Handing out birth control illustration|
By: Shifra Unger
(Scroll down for video) How young is too young to officially have sex? Apparently, the government feels that 10-years-old is the right age.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care in Zimbabwe, is pushing the distribution of contraceptives to kids starting at 10-years-old. The initiative officials said is designed to reduce teenage pregnancies.
Among the contraceptives are birth control pills, birth control implants, birth control injections and condoms.
Currently, there are over 90 centers and clinics around the country, which are already dispensing contraceptives to teenagers through the National Family Planning Council of Zimbabwe (ZNFPC). However, that was geared towards older teens and adults.
Now, the government wants to allow young children from age 10 to be able to walk into a center and receive free birth control and condoms.
In an interview, the director of the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr. Bernard Madzima, said that authorities made the decision after a sharp rise in teenage pregnancies and high rate of maternal mortality was reported.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, adolescents between 15 and 19-years-old make up a quarter of the 960 Zimbabwean women, who die from pregnancy-related complications every year.
Dr. Madzima said that those who visit designated clinics are advised on health issues first before being issued contraceptives. The centers also provide counseling, HIV and AIDS testing, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
Dr. Munongo said that as of now, boys constitute 60 percent of visits to the centers.
The World Health Organization defines adolescents as those between the ages of 10 and 24.
However, the government warns that although children can legally obtain birth control, it is not an invitation for adults to have sex with them. The law of the country dictates that anyone who has sex with a child under 16-years-old is to be arrested and prosecuted.