Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and the Eastern Cape MEC for Health, Nomakhosazana Meth unveil first of its kind vending machine in South Africa, in the Eastern Cape. Picture: Supplied

There has been an increasing rate in case of teenage pregnancies in the Eastern Cape. This has been a concern for the provincial health department and they have come up with a measure to address the problem by availing contraceptive vending machines. These will be placed at easy-to-access and busy public areas such as institutions of higher learning, malls or shopping centres, SASSA points, etc across the country. 

According to the department, South Africa has witnessed an alarming surge in adolescent pregnancies in the past three years (2020-2023) with more than 11 500 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years having delivered babies in public health facilities. The initiative was launched in Mthatha, Eastern Cape recently today to increase the adoption of various contraceptive methods in response to the nation’s problem of adolescent pregnancy. The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, and the Eastern Cape MEC for Health, Ms Nomakhosazana Meth will on Wednesday, lead the official launch and handover of the Self-Care Wellness Vending Machine.

The health department said, the Vending Machines are the first of their kind in South Africa and are part of the ongoing effort to improve the uptake of various methods of contraception in response to the scourge of teenage pregnancy in the country. “This initiative is targeting girls and women of childbearing to increase access to Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV prevention services and reduce unplanned pregnancies which lead to unsafe abortions,” the department said. “These vending machines will carry a variety of oral contraceptives (such as Nordette, Triphasil, Microval, Ovral, and Emergency contraceptives/Morning after pill) and HIV prevention (such as HIV Self-testing kit, Lubricants, Male and female condoms, Pregnancy test, and Sanitary towels).”

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