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Vimbai Nyirenda, 18 from Ganye Village in Gokwe South of Midlands province sits on the floor in her mother’s kitchen hut. Her mother, Gladys, 52 sits next to her and occasionally plays with the baby.  Vimbai, having been 16 when she fell pregnant, is one of the many young girls who have had to stop their studies due to teenage pregnancy.

Vimbai said although she was aware of safe sex, she and her boyfriend always engaged in unprotected sex.  She knew the consequences of her actions but she did not think much about it.

“I started having sex with my boyfriend when I was 16 years old, I had heard information from other girls on safe sex and use of condoms- both male and female, contraceptives to ensure I protected myself from STIs and HIV and unwanted pregnancy,” says Vimbai shyly.

 “I also knew about the Emergency Contraceptive pill but I just chose to ignore this information. When I fell pregnant at a young age, I realized that it had been a huge mistake to engage in unprotected sex.”

Vimbai, moved from Norton, where she was staying with her sister, to live with her mother in the village as she waited to deliver her baby.  It was during the ante natal visits that she started learning more about contraceptive methods from the nurses at Gokwe District Hospital.  She said learning more about the available family planning methods, she became more enlightened.

“I wished I had known these contraceptive methods before I started having sex, I am sure my life would have turned out differently – I would not have fallen pregnant. Of the family planning methods that the nurses taught us on, what interested me the most was the ‘loop’ (Intra Uterine Contraceptive Device - IUCD), I liked that it was long acting and that I could have it inserted soon after giving birth.”

She immediately phoned her mother and sought her approval to have the IUCD inserted. It was easy to convince her mother, she had also heard about the benefits of the ‘loop.’

“I had heard about the ‘loop’ from other women within our community, although I had initially thought I would encourage her to have Jadelle but I am glad that she sought to know more about contraceptives and has made her own choice,” says Gladys Nyirenda, Vimbai’s mother with hope in her eyes.

“My desire is for her to continue with her studies, so if she uses a method that is as long lasting as the ‘loop’, she can continue with her education without worrying about falling pregnant.”

Vimbai had the IUCD inserted 14 weeks after giving birth, although she says she has not been sexually active since falling pregnant, she decided to take precaution just in case she meets someone.

Teenage pregnancies, have been cited as a major contributor to maternal and child mortality and remain high at 22% in the country as a result of lack of availability of family planning information and services for young people. Comprehensive sexuality education is essential to building the self-efficacy of young people to act on SRHR information that they receive.

UNFPA Supplies, by supporting Zimbabwe in procuring IUCDs, Implants and Injectables is hugely contributing to expanding choice and improving access to comprehensive contraceptive services. Delivered through public health systems, these contraceptives reach the last mile and benefit young clients like Vimbai all over the country. – Jesilyn Dendere