Southern Province has the highest number of teenage pregnancies at 43 percent with Lusaka being the lowest at 15 percent, according to the 2018 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) report. The report states that rural teenagers tend to start childbearing earlier than those in urban settings. The ZDHS states that overall, 29 percent of women aged 15 to 19 are bearing children with 24 percent having live births. “Early childbearing among young people is more common in Southern Province.
Five percent of teenage girls were pregnant with their first child at the time of the interview. “Six percent of women have already begun childbearing at age 15, but the proportion of having children increases rapidly with age, reaching 53 percent among women at age 19,” the report reads in part. It further states that young people with no education or only primary schooling (42 percent and 36 percent) are more likely to have started bearing children compared with 29 percent national average or 23 percent among teenagers with a secondary education. Childbearing was also found to be most common among women with the lowest wealth, at 46 percent.
“Children born to very young mothers are at increased risk of sickness and death. “Teenage mothers are more likely to experience adverse pregnancy outcomes and are more constrained in their ability to pursue educational opportunities than young women who delay childbearing,” the report reads in part. On family planning, the report shows that women in the country do not begin to use contraceptives until they have had at least one child. According to the report, 54 percent of married women in urban areas use contraceptives compared to 46 percent in rural places. Contraceptive use generally increases with educational attainment and wealth, according to the report.
Injectables are the most popular family planning method across all sub-groups, irrespective of background. Among sexually active unmarried women, 44 percent are using a contraceptive method. On the ownership of insecticidetreated mosquito nets, Muchinga Province is the highest at 85 percent with Lusaka being the lowest at 50 percent. The percentage of households who own at least one treated mosquito net decreases with increasing wealth.