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USAID helps fight early pregnancies

SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Kazungula
THE number of girls dropping out of school due to early pregnancies in Mukuni chiefdom in Kazungula has come down, thanks to a programme funded by the United States government.
The chiefdom last year recorded only 14 drop-outs as a result of early pregnancies, and authorities in the district have attributed this to an awareness programme which is supported by the United States Aid for International Development (USAID).
The 14 pregnant school-girls are from Ngandu Primary and Nsongwe Junior Secondary schools.
This came to light when American ambassador to Zambia Eric Shultz paid a courtesy call on Chief Mukuni to check on US-funded projects in the area.
Nsongwe head teacher Regis Makala said her school recorded five drop-outs.
Ms Makala expressed optimism that the number was going to drop this year because teachers were trained in reproductive health and the pupils were being taught on the same.
“I faced challenges with pupils ranging from dressing and the way pupils addressed elderly people. I had a lot of homework to do and even called PTA chairman to help with the behavioural change of pupils other than punishment. This year I can safely say that they have changed and the num-ber of early pregnancies will reduce,” She said
And Ngandu primary head teacher Mundia Mubita said she had nine drop-outs last year and hoped that the number would go down but had so far recorded one pregnancy this year.
Ms Mundia attributed the pregnancies to indecent behaviour of the pupils which she was still working on.
She has two breastfeeding mothers who are back in school.
“I encourage them to tell their parents to bring their children at school so that they breastfeed while attending lessons,” she said.

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