Government decision to distribute condoms and other contraceptives in public schools is a lack of wisdom which will only encourage promiscuity among the school going children, says Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) overseer Bishop Peter Ndlovu.
But Young African leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe said sexual reproductive health in schools should be enhanced with preventive measures like con doms which help protect against disease and unwanted pregnancies.
Bishop Ndlovu said the problem of moral decay could not be handled through the provision of condoms as it did not guarantee the total safety of the users against HIV/AIDS, but increased immoral activities.
The clergyman said families should establish Biblical concepts and values that encouraged upright moral standards instead of increasing immorality in schools by providing condoms.
“It’s so evil to think that increasing contraception among school going children would help prevent illiteracy as it prevents pregnancy when it would in fact it destroy their lives with the immoral life linked to condoms,” he said.
He said so many people have used condoms and ended up dying from diseases said to be preventable, including long term health complications related to the overuse of oral contraception.
Bishop Ndlovu was reacting to reports that government was working out a programme with the Ministries of Health, Education and Community Development to enhance contraception in public schools to help prevent spread of HIV/AIDS, reduce pregnancy and drop-outs especially among the girls.
“Because now, we shall even decide to give day care services to those pupils with children to deal with education for their babies while their mothers are in class,” he said.
He said there were better ways of dealing with the problems of moral degradation in schools other than giving out condoms and oral contraception which only encouraged promiscuity among the children.
Bishop Ndlovu has appealed to government leaders not to allow weakness to prevail over the wisdom to fight wrong with Godly advice which promoted improved lifestyle for the children.
“These people talking about this grew up without contraceptives in their schools yet they survived, they managed to be doctors, lawyers without these things, why can’t they also wish the same for the children growing up today?” he questioned.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ntewewe said it would be incorrect to promote abstinence without a remedy for those unable to refrain when it was obvious that sex was happening among the pupils in schools.
Mr. Ntewewe said while sensitization on abstinence was important, it was imperative that the children were also given protection should they fail to desist.
“It is good for young people to have access to the options there are in the prevention of disease and pregnancy because we know it is happening in schools, but we should not stop talking about the importance of abstinence,” he said.
He explained that for remedial measures, it was a welcome decision to encourage condom distribution in secondary schools, which he said was a practical way of preventing a total wipe out of a generation by the HIV/AIDS plague.
And a Lusaka parent, Chris Phiri charged that encouraging contraception among school children was calling for increased immorality which was against the country’s declaration of Zambia as a ‘Christian Nation’.
Mr. Phiri said although the move was meant to reduce disease among the school boys and girls, government could encourage condom use, but that oral contraception would expose the children to unsafe sexual practices which would lead to contraction of diseases.
“We can’t run away from the truth but its better we stick to ways which help protect the lives of the children instead of exposing them to practices which are dangerous and which ould lead to death,” he said.
Mr. Phiri said as parentsgovernment leaders should aim at promoting sexual abstinence as the best protection against disease and pregnancy among the children.
“Are schools for pregnancy prevention or meant for education? Why should there be so much attention given to contraception when we should be talking about improving the education sector?” he said.