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Contraceptive myths increasing teenage pregnancies

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Information gaps in regards to the use of some of the family planning methods is said to be reducing the uptake of the services among the youth in most parts of the country’s rural areas.

Some parents and traditional leaders in Mangochi have revealed that some adolescent girls are refusing to use contraceptive methods citing reports that some family planning methods, have negative effects that prevent a woman from becoming pregnant in future.

They were speaking during a focus group discussion which was organised by an alliance of six organisations that are implementing a five-year Sexual Reproductive Health Rights programme which is being sponsored by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry.

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During the discussions, it emerged that there is lack of comprehensive knowledge relating to the use of family planning methods among the youth. Most parents took turns to explain that they are having challenges to convince their children to use contraceptives because they fear becoming barren in future.

“Girls are scared to use family planning methods such as Depo because they claim that once removed, women become unable to conceive. This is preventing more girls from using the services, hence we are registering more teenage pregnancies,” said Enelesi Banda, a woman who participated in the discussions.

Other myths that are rife in the rural areas according to Village Headman Samama are that some of the family planning methods cause cancer and stomach tumours.

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National Programmes Coordinator for the alliance, Hastings Saka, said most of the issues that were raised during the discussions were also identified during a baseline study which the organisations conducted in March this year.

“We are in the process of validating the baseline results but partial findings reveal a big information gap about SRHR among the youth. We hope the alliance will address these issues in their various skills and knowledge,” Saka said.

The six organisations that are implementing the “Get Up Speak Out project” are Yoneco, CHRR, Cavwoc, FPAM, Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civil Education and the Coalition of Women Living with HIV and Aids.

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