MEC encourages learners to respect their bodies

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tembisa - Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa has encouraged learners at the Tembisa and Zitikeni High Schools to respect their bodies and make wise choices for their future.

Mr Hlongwa visited the schools on Thursday to empower learners with information on reproductive health.

The visit forms part of the week-long Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) or Condom Week which started on Monday.

Last year alone, the Tembisa High School had 15 pregnancies while the Zitikeni High School had 23 pregnancies.

During his visit, the MEC highlighted the dangers of unplanned pregnancies and the risks of being infected with sexually transmitted infections including HIV and AIDS, which could have a negative impact on their future.

He revealed that in 2008, 2000 people, most of them under the age of 18 terminated their pregnancies at the Tembisa Hospital and the hospital treated over 3 000 cases of people with STIs.

He warned learners about giving in to temptation, which could destroy their future. "Sometimes when a girl and boy meets, the temperatures goes high, there's nothing wrong with that but dreams disappear if we allow it," he told learners.

He encouraged learners to love and respect their bodies warning that girls think with their hearts while boys often break hearts.

"They [boys] make bets not only on you but six more girls per week, he hires and fires anytime and you [girls] become victims.

He told the female learners that as they get older they could develop cancers and have complications if they do not take precautions at an early age.

"The choice is yours to decide what you want to do with your life," Mr Hlongwa said.

He further reminded learners that the government has provided them with opportunities for them to achieve great things in life and they have no excuses for failing.

"You are very special and can become anything you want, 60 percent of schools are no fee school, they get meals and government also provide school uniforms for learners who come from poor needy families," he reminded learners.

Mr Hlongwa added that the schools will be monitored and he will make sure that the schools are no longer known for pregnancies but for producing good results.

"We want to turn your life around, learners must be at school and in class on time, teachers should be in class teaching," Mr Hlongwa told learners and teachers.

Speaking to BuaNews, Grade 11 student, Refilwe Masiya said the high rate of teenage pregnancy was not due to lack of knowledge but peer pressure and failure to resist temptation.

"It is a privilege for us to be visited by the MEC to emphasise the danger of the diseases, I hope this will have an impact on us and we will start to see a decrease in pregnancies," Refilwe said.

She also added that sex education is very important because that is where learners get the right information on healthy lifestyle and diseases instead of getting wrong information from their friends.