Namibia is faced with unprecedented high cases of teenage pregnancy, maternal mortality and sexually transmitted diseases amongst young people. Many young girls and women face the risk of their studies being disrupted as a result of unintended pregnancies. Factors attributed to these early and unintended pregnancies are poverty, lack of access to comprehensive sex education and peer pressure, amongst others.
The Department of Student Services aims to reduce these occurrences by educating female and male students about the options available to them. Sister Kristine Siseho, a registered nurse at the NUST Clinic emphasised the importance of making informed choices. “Social evils such as baby dumping are on the rise in Namibia and there are various reasons why young mothers find this as the only alternative. In some cases, unwanted pregnancies result in abortions, which is a great public health concern, not only because it is illegal in Namibia, but because many of these procedures are performed in unsafe ways which pose serious health risks for the women. Nonetheless, if more young people are educated about the various Family Planning methods, these tragic situations can be avoided,” she stressed.
During the workshop, students were tested on their knowledge of Family Planning. Gideon Shilongo, a first-year Computer Science student explained that it is about preparing for your future and having a number of children that you can support. Maxine Jakobus, a first-year Environmental Health Sciences student simply summed it up as one’s decision of when exactly they wish to get pregnant.
The most widely available forms of contraceptives at government health care facilities are injections, pills, intrauterine devices and condoms. The NUST clinic offers contraceptives to the University community at no charge.