HEALTH

by Ben Taylor

Teen pregnancy
East Africa ranks second globally after West Africa as the region with the highest number of women reporting a birth before the age of 18, according to a new report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The report, Motherhood in Childhood: Facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy, said Uganda leads the region in teenage pregnancies at 33% followed by Tanzania (28%) and Kenya (26%).

This is a big concern for policymakers given that the five East African Community countries are grappling with fast-rising populations that threaten to strain their limited economic resources. The high population growth rates are blamed on low usage of contraceptives.

A second recent report, Forced out, by the Centre for Reproductive Rights, indicated that over 55,000 female students in Tanzania have had to leave schools in the past decade because of pregnancy. Contraceptive use among adolescent girls remains minimal; only 10.7% of sexually active women aged 15-19 report using any family planning method.
(The East African)

Good progress on malaria
Tanzania leads Africa in the proportion of households owning Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN), according to the World Malaria Report, published by the World Health Organisation. Over 50% of Tanzanian households own enough nets for all household members, and 91% of households own at least one treated net. The report notes that Tanzania has also made good progress in the incidence of malaria, from nearly 13 million cases in 2009 to under three million in 2012, and from 16,776 deaths in 2009 to 7820 in 2012. (The Citizen)

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