A recent Constitutional Court ruling in South Africa has confirmed that schools cannot expel students for becoming pregnant, but reports shows that the country is still struggling to cope with the issue, which affects some 180,000 girls each year.
Shrill wails fill the maternity ward of Durban’s King Dinuzulu public hospital.
One scream, followed by another, then another – a disturbing chorus of tormented cries and laboured breathing. Three teenagers are about to give birth.
According to one the Doctors:
We are often forced to deliver the babies via Caesarean section, which increases the risks of haemorrhaging and puts their lives at risk”. Dr Jay-Anne Devjee
The youngest girl in the ward is 14 years old. Overwhelmed by labour pains, she struggles to even speak.
In the next room Phumla Tshabalala, 16, is holding her tiny baby, a one-day-old girl.
Phumla is a first-time mother and says she is worried about the possibility of being a single parent.
“I haven’t seen my boyfriend for a long time and he hasn’t even been here to see me and the baby,”
“I told him that I’ve given birth but no-one from his family has come. I’m not even sure if he told his parents about the baby.”
She is from a modest home, her father is the sole breadwinner. She is the youngest of three daughters and the first to have a child – something her mother and father are struggling to come to terms with.
“My parents are disappointed in me – they worked hard to educate me and they say I’ve thrown all of their hard work away. I hope that they can forgive me one day,” she says.
The child Right is being protected, but how does a Pregnant teenager concentrate in Class?