'Sorry for injecting pupils for birth control'

A generic image of a syringe.
A generic image of a syringe.
Image: 123RF/Oksana Tkachuk

A public apology has been issued to the community of Phaposane‚ parents and learners at Pitso-Letlhogile secondary school by the North West Department of Health.

The department said it has "reflected on the incident of birth control injection of learners for prevention of pregnancy" at Pitso-Letlhogile Secondary School at Phaposane near Ganyesa.

"The incident‚ though it was carried out with good intentions by our sub-district‚ did not sit well with the parents and the affected learners. The Department admits that there should have been thorough consultation on the matter particularly with all affected parties including the Department of Education‚ the School Management and the parents.

"The manner in which the activity was carried out is regrettable since it left learners feeling that their rights particularly the right to human dignity and the right to privacy were infringed."

The department admitted that both parents and learners' consent should have been thoroughly sought‚ agreed to and consent forms signed.

"The department therefore apologises to all the parties involved including the community and particularly the parents and learners.

"In the light of the importance of the school health programme on healthy lifestyles‚ teenage pregnancy and substance abuse‚ the department will endeavor to heighten education and awareness around these issues in the new financial year to avoid any future misunderstanding among all stakeholders affected."

In February‚ the SA Human Rights Commission said it would investigate allegations that some Grade-12 pupils were injected with contraceptives without their consent. News reports at the time stated that nurses arrived at the school and administered pregnancy tests. Those found to be pregnant or already using contraceptives were not injected.