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UNICEF partners government to fight social ills

UNICEF partners government to fight social ills

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pledged to continue working with the government of Zimbabwe to curb teen pregnancies and drug abuse.

The issue of drug and substance abuse took centre stage when UNICEF Resident Representative, Dr Tajudeen Oyewale met the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda in Harare this Friday.

“We came to congratulate the 10th parliament but also to reflect on the progress we made in the 9th Parliament specifically for children and for UNICEF. We saw an increase in the socio-sector allocation which benefits children. The second is the different legislative reforms and bills that the Parliament has passed which we are really appreciative of because they improve the socio-protection, the child protection, and the legal framework for children in Zimbabwe, but beyond that, the Speaker did highlight two key issues they want UNICEF and the UN to do more. The first is on adolescent pregnancy and you will agree with me that the rate of adolescent pregnancy after COVID is of concern,” he said.

He added, “The second issue that the speaker raised is the scourge of drug and substance abuse and this is really coming to destroy the future generation of this county like any other country. As UNICEF, we have just completed an initial desk review of the drivers of drug abuse in the country. We also worked just last week with the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to put in place a national plan to respond to this.

“It is our commitment to make sure that we invest in those two areas for adolescent pregnancy response and drug and substance abuse prevention and response because these are really delicate issues that are coming to really erode the progress made for children and young people.”

UNICEF has released a report titled: ‘Let the Evidence Speak: Understanding Drug Use and Substance Abuse by Zimbabwean Adolescents And Young People’ after a research carried out across five provinces including Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West.

According to the report, the most commonly abused drug is cannabis at 67% followed by legal alcohol at 61%, cough syrups 47%, skunk 43%, crystal meth 36% and illegal alcohol at 31%.

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