HE prevailing water crisis in Harare and other parts of the country exposes girls and young women to HIV infections and early unintended pregnancies (EUPs) owing to the lengthy hours they spend in long winding queues and boreholes where they end up fraternising with individuals who harbor evil intentions.
Speaking at the launch of the Harare Zimbabwe Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (ZIMPHIA), Harare province acting provincial development coordinator Catherine Kampila said the water crisis in Harare had created a fertile breeding ground for risky sexual behaviour and early sexual debut in children and needed to be addressed before the situation spirals out of control.
We are talking about HIV here but we know that in our fight and in our endeavors to achieve what it is we are want to achieve, there are so many underlying factors that might need to be looked into. The awareness, yes it’s happening but we can talk about other issues for example the issues of water and lack of clean drinking water.
“It is no secret that at times people go to water sources late at night because maybe that is when the water will be available. We have seen people mingling at such sources up to maybe late at night and girls because they do most of the domestic chores spend time at these water sources, ”
“We have also seen due to lake of housing and proper accommodation grown up girls sharing a room with male counterparts in some less developed areas because there is no proper accommodation and the underlying factor might lead to what we are talking about today,” said Kampila.
Harare among other cities is currently battling a prolonged water crisis at the back of lack of water treatment chemicals and foreign currency to purchase the chemicals from foreign markets, a situation which has crippled the city’s ability to pump clean water into households.
“It’s a host of things that need to be looked into holistically and every one and every ministry should be involved because it affects girls, women, young children and even the old,” added Kamphila.
Even though data shows that Early Unintended Pregnancies are rife in rural areas and other marginalised communities, increased cases of pregnancies are also being reported in urban set ups owing to a myriad of factors chief among them being the prevailing economic environment.
In an interview with HealthTimes, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation(UNESCO) National Programme Officer Masimba Nyamucheta said the current economic situation was also to blame for the rise in transnational sex and early unintended pregnancies.