Campaign to teach about sex pays off

ONE of the poverty-stricken areas of uMkhanyakude district in Mtubatuba, on the outskirts of Zululand, has seen a significant decrease in teenage pregnancies.

ONE of the poverty-stricken areas of uMkhanyakude district in Mtubatuba, on the outskirts of Zululand, has seen a significant decrease in teenage pregnancies.

The decrease has been attributed to partnerships between an NGO and private companies in the area.

Before the start of a campaign to educate youths, three out of every 10 teenagers were allegedly falling pregnant in the area. The figure has since decreased.

Mpilonhle, meaning good life, is a non-governmental organisation that has been working with communities in Mtubatuba to teach youths about safe sex and abstinence.

Since the organisation started working with high school pupils, the number of teenage pregnancies have decreased and HIV infections have remained low.

Mpilonhle managing director Michael Bennish said: "According to our latest figures, out of 10000 pupils, only 15 fell pregnant since we started focusing on high schools over the past five years.

"This shows that the awareness campaigns are paying dividends."

Bennish said they wanted to deal with social issues, which is why they had been encouraging pupils to go for HIV testing.

"About 70percent have come for HIV testing and about 100percent come for counselling," Bennish said.

Dudu Kunene, who works directly with a team that visits schools, said they were satisfied with the way things had turned out.

"Whenever we are doing high school visits, pupils flock in numbers to test, which is promising," she said.

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