Views of learners on prevention and management of pregnancies in schools of Madibeng municipality, North West province of South Africa

Tshiamo N Ramalepa, Tendani S Ramukumba, Majapi E Masala-Chokwe

Abstract

Learner pregnancies have increased in recent years, despite improved access to reproductive health services, contraceptives and sexual and reproductive education. In this article, a pregnant learner refers to any person who gets pregnant while being admitted as a learner in primary or secondary schools of the South African basic education system. Currently in South Africa there is no formal collaboration between the Departments of Health and Education concerning learner pregnancy prevention and management in schools. This study, conducted in Madibeng Municipality schools, aimed to develop implementation guidelines of the policy on prevention and management of learner pregnancy in schools. This qualitative, exploratory and descriptive study used a purposive sampling method. Data collection yielded 17 individual interviews and data was analysed using content analysis by Tesch’s approach. Learners reflected that they lacked support from schools regarding learner pregnancy prevention and management, with the majority agreeing that nurses should visit schools to assist with reproductive health matters such as learner pregnancy.  The education system of South Africa has invested in sexual and reproductive education, but learner pregnancies have doubled despite more than a decade of extensive sexual and reproductive education in schools. Stakeholders outside the classroom should be engaged to improve learner pregnancy prevention and management as part of support to teachers and schools. Such stakeholders include parents, peer educators, youth and community organisations, non-governmental organisations, community healthcare nurses and other relevant stakeholders. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[4]: 27-40).

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