We don't want babies named 'Valentine' or 'Mistakes Happen' in nine months, says KZN health MEC
MEC Nomagugu Simelane urged young people to be safe this Valentine's Day
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane on Sunday urged young “amorous couples” to practise safe sex to avoid regrets — which included scrambling for morning-after pills and contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
The MEC was using Valentine's Day to appeal to young men and women to protect themselves when engaging in sexual activity.
“So, we are saying to our people, in enjoying this day, do not get carried away. Let us be responsible, and not find ourselves with babies called Valentine’s and Phutha Liyenzeka (Mistakes Happen) by November.
“Government has given us all the options to protect ourselves. There are pills, injections, implants and condoms that are meant to help us prevent an unplanned pregnancy and unwanted babies. Let’s enjoy ourselves without any regrets,” she said.
According to a Stats SA report titled Unwanted Fertility in South Africa, about 20% of pregnancies in the five years preceding the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (including pregnancies at the time), happened when women were not planning on having children.
The report stated that the percentage of unwanted births increased from 17.3% in 1998 to 20.4% in 2016.
“Furthermore, in a summary of a research project published in the SA Medical Journal ... academic scholars point out that unplanned pregnancies among youth pose a serious public health concern.
“They expose young women and their newborns to potential adverse health and social outcomes, including the likelihood of unsafe abortions, maternal depression and anxiety, premature birth and low birth weight,” said Simelane.
She said unplanned pregnancies were “socially disruptive and impact negatively on educational progress and future career prospects”.
“Women with unintended pregnancies are likely to be less well educated and poorer than women without such pregnancies. Unplanned pregnancy occurs mainly as a result of contraceptive failure and inconsistent or non-use of contraceptives, including inconsistent use of condoms.
“A number of factors have been associated with unplanned or unintended pregnancies among youth. These include socio-economic, demographic and behavioural factors such as poor socio-economic status, age, living arrangements, peer pressure, sexual coercion, sex socialisation, unprotected sex, ignorance, and negative attitudes towards contraception.”
She urged those old enough to be sexually active to “take care of themselves”.
“They must use protection. Men must use condoms, because they are available free of charge. The advantage now is also the fact that there are female condoms, which a woman has a right to put on if her partner does not want to use a male condom,” she said.