A Review of Teenage Pregnancy in South Africa – Experiences of Schooling, and Knowledge and Access to Sexual & Reproductive Health Services
Approximately 30% of teenagers in South Africa report ‘ever having been pregnant’, the majority, unplanned. While this number has decreased over the past few decades, it is still unacceptably high. The figure is for all teenagers. (13-19 years old), but motherhood for an 18 or 19 year old has very different implications than for a young teenager, one aged 15, for example. Therefore this report tries, where possible, to be mindful of differing experiences of pregnancy and motherhood across the teen years.
Saving Mothers 2008-2010: Fifth report on the confidential enquiries into maternal deaths in South Africa
The report covers the maternal deaths that were reported to the NCCEMD secretariat by 15th April 2011, and that occurred in the triennium 2008-2010. The same definitions used in previous Saving Mothers reports were used in this report.
Every day, approximately 1000 women die in childbirth or from a pregnancy-related complication.1 Maternal death can occur at any time in pregnancy, but delivery is by far the most dangerous time for both the mother and the baby. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented if access to emergency obstetric care is ensured.
Experience shows us that at least 15 percent of all pregnant women worldwide encounter a life-threatening complication. In a conflict or a crisis, pregnant women are even more vulnerable because health services have collapsed, are inadequate or non-existent. But these women need access to quality emergency obstetric care whether they live in a conflict zone, in a refugee camp or under plastic sheeting after a devastating earthquake.
South Africa currently only provides for medical abortion in the private sector – however, the National Department of Health is finalising guidelines for implementation in the public sector. Given the demand for abortion services by women, the limited accessibility of surgical abortion there is a need to make medical abortion services available. This should address illegalmedical abortion providers currently advertising on lamppostsin public areas and the concerning maternal mortality rates.
Marion Stevens, treatment monitor with the Health Systems Trust, reflects on adolescent sexual and reproductive healthcare during Youth Month.With June being Youth Month, it's important to consider and reflect on the area of adolescent sexual and reproductive healthcare. This is an area that is often ignored as we grapple with the reality that adolescents are choosing tobe sexually active, but cultural practices often limit open communication about sex with our cllildren. As nurses we have a responsibility to provide care of adolescents' sexual health, which also includes the results of unplanned pregnancies,abortion, spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV and maternal mortality and morbidity.