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Type Working Paper
Title Pregnancy amongst school-going teenagers in South Africa: Experiences of pregnant teenagers, parents and teachers on provision of social support
Author(s)
Abstract
Pregnancy amongst school-going teenagers is a public health concern affecting
most communities in South Africa (Chanjar, Chommanard & Lookid, 2009; Panday,
Makiwane, Ranchod & Letsoalo, 2009; Richter & Mlambo, 2005). Teenage
pregnancies fall in the category of high risk pregnancies, which require appropriate
antenatal, labour and postnatal care to ensure a healthy mother and child (Ehlers,
2010; Fraser, Cooper & Nolte, 2010; James, Van Rooyen & Strümpher, 2010; Kanku
& Mash, 2010; Maholo, Maja & Wright, 2009; Nolte, 2011; Restrepo-Méndez, Barros,
Santos, Menezes, Matijasevich, Barros & Victora, 2011). To meet Millennium
Development Goal (MDG) 4 and MDG 5 South Africa has to strengthen the
implementation of high impact interventions such as regular antenatal visits and
improved referral links between the home and the health facility (Chopra, Daviaud,
Pattinson, Fonn & Lawn, 2009).
There are these days an increased visibility of pregnant teenagers at schools in
South Africa (James, Van Rooyen & Strümpher, 2011; Maholo et al., 2009; Panday
et al., 2009; Runhare & Vandeyar, 2011). In 2010, the highest number of pregnant
school-going teenagers was recorded in Limpopo Province, followed by KwaZuluNatal
Province, while in 2009, Limpopo Province recorded the second highest
number as compared to other provinces in the country (Department of Basic
Education, 2011, 2012). Newspapers (Mclea, 2011; Mngoma, 2010; Moselakgomo,
2010), which Daku, Gibbs and Heyman (2012), De Wet (2014) and Oosthuizen
(2012) regard as important sources of knowledge for the public and policy makers as
they report on events that happen in the community, also report frequently about
pregnant learners in all nine provinces of South Africa. Unlike in the past, when
pregnant school-going teenagers were expelled from schools, these days they are
encouraged to continue attending school, so that they are not further disadvantaged
by not having completed their education. To implement inclusive education and work
towards achievement of MDGs (Runhare & Vandeyar, 2011), the Department of
2
Basic Education encourages pregnant learners not to drop out of schools, and
prohibits school governing bodies from expelling these learners (Bhana, Morrell,
Shefer & Ngabaza, 2010; Department of Education, 2007).

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