GOVERNMENT is spending huge sums of money in treating symptoms of illegal abortions and this is source of great concern, says Centre for Reproductive Health and Education in Zambia (CRHEZ) executive director Amos Mwale.
Mr Mwale said it was therefore important that Government should put in place mechanisms to prevent young girls from falling pregnant.
He said Government must be addressing the causes of unwanted pregnancies among girls and women by providing adequate preventative measures to the people accessible at all levels.
He said what was lacking in Zambia was access to general counseling services on sexual reproductive health for teenagers and young people who have reached puberty.
Mr Mwale said for as long as Government through the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders did not engage young people on issues of their reproductive health, there will always be high numbers of illegal abortions.
“We are losing a lot of girls and women through unsafe abortions and the Government is spending a lot of money treating abortion symptoms instead of providing reproductive health services that will help prevent unwanted pregnancies or counseling services for young people.
“Young people in Zambia do not have anyone to talk to about their reproductive health issues including whether to abort or otherwise when they get pregnant,” he said.
He said young people did not have access to reproductive health services especially pre- and post-pregnancy counseling as they continued to suffer ridicule and admonishment at public health facilities.
He said young people should have easy access to information on their sexuality and other reproduction health services including available disease and pregnancy prevention measures at health facilities.
Mr Mwale said sex education for young people must be an on-going process which should be extended to health services available to prevent pregnancy and diseases among those already active in sex.
“Zambians are refusing to give pupils condoms. They refuse to give them contraceptives, and yet in North-Western Province, eight unsafe abortions are being reported on a daily basis, not to talk about those that are not reported or remain undetected?” he said.
He said for those already sexually active, there must be prevention alternatives accessible at public health facilities, available contraception counseling, and pregnancy prevention services.
There was a high prevalence of teenage pregnancies and with rampant unsafe abortions leading to death in many instances.