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979 Girls Pregnant From Jan-Jun in Neno

Members of the pProtection cluster brainstorming on ways of ending child marriages Members of the pProtection cluster brainstorming on ways of ending child marriages - pic by Steve Kalungwe

In Neno district, 979 girls of school going age have fallen pregnant during the period of January and June this year, thus according to antenatal register and district maternal heath forum a development which has worried Neno district protection cluster.

Speaking to Zodiak, Neno district Social Welfare officer Paul Sosono said that, from March when schools got closed due to Covid-19, 211 girls have fallen pregnant, adding this is a call for mourning and needs multi-sectoral interventions to end it.

"From March when schools got closed due to Covid-19, in our disaggregated data, we know that 104 girls are pregnant, from four educational zones, and that 211 of school going age are also pregnant and this is worrying", he said.

In her observation, Neno police station officer Ruth Harawa bemoaned the tendency of some parents of increasing years of victims in order to help suspects evade justice.

"Most parents are protecting victims, which in most cases are relational, this is frustrating our efforts to end child marriages. You see parents withdrawing cases of siding with suspects by increasing years of victims in order to invade justice", said Harawa.

Meanwhile Neno District Medical Officer Enock Ndalama has called on parents to desist from the malpractice while asking government to try to provide DNA testing machines to help identify ones age.

Neno district protection committee is scheduled to compile all child marriage cases and end them by August 30 as directed by the minister of Gender Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati.

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