8% of adolescent girls fell pregnant in Burundi, reveals ISTEEBU report

Eight percent of teenage girls fall pregnant early in the country, reveals the 3rd 2016-2017 Demographic and Health Survey conducted by Burundi Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (ISTEEBU). Ignorance about reproductive health is one of the main causes.

Teenage girls at school

Teenage girls at school

Teenage pregnancy rate is high at 10% in urban areas, compared with 8% in rural areas, according to the same study conducted by ISTEEBU among women aged between 15 and 49, selected and interviewed in a sample of 16,620 families that is 3.180 in urban areas and 13.440 in rural areas.

In Bujumbura, the Burundian capital and Ngozi, the third largest city in the country, the teenage pregnancy rates peak at 12% and 15% respectively, reveals ISTEEBU report.

The figures for early pregnancy are increasing year by year, especially in schools, says Gorges Gahungu, UNFPA official in charge of programs and HIV/AIDS.
“According to the results of school-based surveys, cases of early pregnancy increased from 877 in 2009 to 2424 in 2016,” says Gahungu adding that there has been a slight decrease in 2016. “We have recorded less than 2200 school pregnancy cases in 2016,” he says.

Jean Bosco Ndayishimiye, Legal Representative of the organization in charge of sharing information on reproductive health (Share Net), says ignorance is one of the main causes of these early pregnancies. “The majority of girls who become pregnant do not control their menstrual cycle to determine their fertile period,” says Ndayishimiye. He also mentions the lack of available counseling services on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.

Ndayishimiye proposes to popularize the information necessary to break ignorance on reproductive health in order to combat these pregnancies. “We must break a taboo. Because of culture, Burundians view the debate on sexuality as taboo,” he says.

The latest general census of the population and households conducted in 2008 showed that young people under 25 represent 65% of the whole population in Burundi.