Thousands of girls get pregnant during schools closure


As schools are set to reopen in Malawi, thousands of girls will not be able to go back to school immediately as they are pregnant.

Schools which were closed schools in March are set to reopen on September 7. But the Covid-19 induced closure ends while some learners are dealing with unwanted pregnancies and diseases.

Mphatso at Kawale in Lilongwe was impregnated by her fellow learner from a primary school in Mangochi.

Since she told her boyfriend about the pregnancy, he has been at large. The situation forced Mphatso, 14, to look for him in Kawale after being tipped that he relocated there.

Her ordeal typifies several cases the girl children are currently meeting.

“I got pregnant out of ignorance,” she said, adding that as a Standard 7 learner she did not receive sex education and this contributed largely to her pregnancy.

Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (MDH) released on 15 March 2017 revealed that Malawi was facing population explosion.

According to education authorities in Mangochi, over 7,00 girls have been impregnated since the closure of schools due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

One of the findings of the survey is that girls in rural areas are more likely to get pregnant than their counterparts in urban areas.

Sex education also plays a major role in preventing the pregnancy, the study found.

Elube Chirwa aged 18 is a form 2 student in Mzimba and she told Malawi24 that she is sexually active but she has never engaged herself in unprotected sex.

“I’m sexually active that is why I and my boyfriend use condoms. I love my boyfriend and he loves me too. I know sex is intimate relationship between a man and women. I was taught at school that sex is meant for married couples only but we are sexually active that is why we resorted to using the condoms,” said Elube.

Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) executive director Benedicto Kondowe said the pandemic has adversely affected the lives of young women adding that the period has seen a spike in abuse cases because children are at home instead of being at school.

A social commentator, Wonderful Mkutche, has since stressed on the need for government and development partners to invest more in sex education to alleviate the trends.

Mkhutche l

“HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex where one is already infected. This is one issue they should prioritize in educating the young people about sex life, in an effort to stop early pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases,” he said.

On closure of schools, Mkhutche said it was a good decision by government in order to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.