Teen Pregnancies Rock Zvimba School

Read this sad piece

Mike's Place

By Michael Gwarisa

AT least eight girls from Mucheri Secondary school in Zvimba
have dropped out of school amidst indications of a rise in teen pregnancies in
the area.

In an interview with , Youth Facilitator for Kasanze Youth
Friendly Centre, Faith Nemashakwe said there is an increase in teenage
pregnancies in the area and more needed to be done to educate young girls on
the risks of early marriages and early pregnancies.

“The figures of young girls falling pregnant are
fluctuating, before we had a huge number dropping out of school because of
pregnancy that was before we introduced the youth centre program. Now that we
go in schools and communities teaching teaching about SRHR issues, the numbers
at times decrease. The numbers are now going up, last year alone, we had a high
number of girls dropping out of school and we are still trying to find out…

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Teen Pregnancies Rock Zvimba School

By Michael Gwarisa

AT least eight girls from Mucheri Secondary school in Zvimba have dropped out of school amidst indications of a rise in teen pregnancies in the area.

In an interview with , Youth Facilitator for Kasanze Youth Friendly Centre, Faith Nemashakwe said there is an increase in teenage pregnancies in the area and more needed to be done to educate young girls on the risks of early marriages and early pregnancies.

“The figures of young girls falling pregnant are fluctuating, before we had a huge number dropping out of school because of pregnancy that was before we introduced the youth centre program. Now that we go in schools and communities teaching teaching about SRHR issues, the numbers at times decrease. The numbers are now going up, last year alone, we had a high number of girls dropping out of school and we are still trying to find out. I think it is due to economic hardships, girls prefer to get marries than stay at home and starve.

“At the local high school we had about eight girls dropping out of school at Mucheri secondary school. At times there is nothing we can do because the policy does not allow us to talk about contraceptives in school. However, we are intensifying our Comprehensive sexually education (CSE) package,” said Kasanza.

Mashonaland West province has at least five youth friendly centres that are operation namely  Kasanze, Zvimba, Kariba, Magunje and Makande.

ZNFPC Mash West provincial Marketing and Communication Officer, Mr  Ancetas Dongo the battle against teenage pregnancies was yet to be won even though indications on the ground point to a brighter future.

“We have managed to penetrate into the communities around the youth centres and we have managed to bring some sort of awareness amongst all involved be it traditional leaders, parents, parents to child communication and other stakeholders. There is a positive trajectory in terms of where we are going, we are looking at it and seeing that yes, things are changing.

“We have not really won the war exactly as yet in terms of teenage pregnancies, we have realised that quite a number of young people are dropping our school because of teenage pregnancies. You realise that the reason why the youth centre here at Kasanza is located here is because we had seen that this district had recorded high cases of HIV among young people, STIs and teen pregnancies so you would find hat that’s why it was cited to be in Kasanza,” said Mr Dongo.

He added that the parents are now referring their kids to the youth centre after realising that it has the potential to shape a clear and positive direction for their children.

ZNFPC Mash West provincial manager, Mr Geshem Madzingaidzo said they have devised strategies to educate and inform the communities around the issues of SRHR so as to curb the rise of unwanted pregnancies, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) among other health issues.

Meet Helen Lee, lady on a mission to Ending AIDS

By Michael Gwarisa

AT first glance, she is just an ordinary ever smiling Chinese lady. Her floriated apparel resembles her deep roots and affinity for her Chinese culture. But beneath that non fading smile and youthful look is a tough, hardworking and Innovative giant.

Her name is Professor Helen Lee, founder and president of Diagnosis for the Real World (DRW) a high technology innovation company which has invented a revolutionary and life changing technology, the SAMBA 2 that tests and reports HIV and viral load results within very few minutes, 70 minutes to be precise. The technology is already in Zimbabwe with the latest consignment of 10 SAMBA machines which are specifically meant for diagnosing and testing paediatric HIV having dispatched around the country’s 10 provinces.

Her reputation precedes her judging by the massive research and literature she has published around the areas of health, HIV and AIDS, scientific innovation among others. To date she has authored over 1500 academic papers around science and innovation.

Having been born in China, Prof Lee emerged to be a brilliant science student who later in life enrolled some of the most respected colleges including Cambridge. 

“Let me take you through the SAMBA journey. It all began 20 year ago when I worked in a large multinational company in Chicago and I was head of the business unit for the DNA diagnostics.

“I learnt the power of DNA diagnostics. There are certain diseases which you must use diagnosis of the diseases organism itself for example Ebola, the patient has symptoms and its very generic and you need to know there and there what kind of diseases it is so the only way is really to look at the virus of the bacteria itself,” said Dr Lee.

She however said looking for a particular virus in huge human body with so many cells can become a challenge and there is need to separate it for the purposes of detection and only technology can do that. Through the SAMBA 2 machines, a timely diagnosis of the virus is guaranteed.

“Imagine me 20 years ago, I am in Abbot a huge multinational company and i am just a Chinese women, a scientists running around with all those big executives. We developed something very nice, I could really see it is important to diagnose the diseases where the diseases originates.

“So i spoke to my boss who was a very good salesman then and said lets create a business unit called second world diagnostics because infections disease need it be diagnosed at the place of origin immediately and eliminated. So I said let’s start the business unit and develop a technology which can do this.

With a few of her colleagues Helen decided to leave the comfort of the American corporate world and went to Cambridge University.

“My business unit 20 years ago had a budget of US$20 million per year, you might think that’s a lot of money but I tell you it is not. And when we went to Cambridge we had exactly US$300, 000 for three years from the World Health Organisation (WHO), we walked into this empty lab.

“Over the years we raised about 90 million always from charity and public organisation so that we do not raise from debenture capital because they would just force us to make profit. Don’t think I am against profit but that is not just about. And speaking about profit, Diagnostics of real world  commit itself to 15 percent of profit in low middle income countries and in other countries we make as much profit as we can,” said Prof Lee. Speaking about the SAMBA, Prof Lee said it is just a small gadget the size of a coffee making machine. The machine is highly air-conditioned and can be used by anyone provided one would have gone through some form of training on how to use it.