By Winnie Atieno, Daily Nation, 12/08/2017

A photo of a school girl carrying a bottle of alcohol while aboard a boda boda

Some 378,397 girls aged 10 to 19 became pregnant between July 2016 and June 2017, a UN report has shown, at the same time pointing an accusing finger at touts and boda bodas.

Counties with the highest number of teenage pregnancies and motherhood include Narok (40 per cent), Homa Bay (33 per cent), West Pokot (29 per cent), Tana River (28 per cent), Nyamira (28 per cent), Samburu (26 per cent), Migori (24 per cent) and Kwale at 24 per cent.

Regions with the lowest teen pregnancies are Murang’a, Nyeri and Embu at six, seven, and eight percent respectively.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 28,932 girls aged 10 to 14 became pregnant in the said period while the number for 15 to 19-year-olds stood at 349,465.

UNFPA officer Kigen Korir said the pregnancies were a burden on the country.

COAST

At the Coast, Tana River, Kwale and Kilifi counties top the list of high teen pregnancies.

“Touts, boda bodas, discos at funerals and child marriages are the main causes of the pregnancies. Law enforcers and religious leaders should help end child marriages in marginalised coastal counties,” said the UNFPA programme officer who is in charge of adolescent and reproductive health.

“Most of the girls dropped out of school. It compromises education attainment and ability to secure decent economic opportunities.

“Morbidity and mortality pregnancy-related complications and abortion, early and child marriages should end,” Mr Korir said Thursday.

He was speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health during the annual Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association conference in Mombasa.

He added that the latest report on teenage pregnancies needs a collaborative approach to deal with it.

“It leads to an economic and social burden on families. Some counties are disproportionately more affected than others,” he said.

Mr Korir urged the government to enhance health education in the new curriculum.

High Rate of Teen Pregnancies is a Burden to Kenya – UNFPA Official

By Winnie Atieno,

Some 378,397 adolescent girls in Kenya aged between 10 and 19 years became pregnant between July 2016 and June this year.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a total of 28,932 girls aged between 10 and 14 years were impregnated, while 349,465 girls were between 15 to 19 years.

BURDEN

Counties with the highest burden of teenage pregnancies include Narok, in which 40 per cent of its teenagers became pregnant. It is followed by Homa Bay at 33 per cent, West Pokot 29 per cent, Tana River 28 per cent, Nyamira 28 per cent, Samburu 26 per cent, while Migori and Kwale both stand at 24 per cent.

Counties presenting the lowest burden include Murang’a, where only six per cent of teenagers became pregnant during the period. Nyeri was at seven per cent, and Embu at eight per cent.

UNFPA programme officer Kigen Korir said the early pregnancies are a burden on the country.

In Coast, Tana River, Kwale and Kilifi counties have the highest prevalence rate of teenage pregnancies.

MEASURES

“Touts, boda boda operators, disco matangas and child marriages are the cause of the pregnancies. Law enforcers and religious leaders should empower communities to deal with cultural child marriage in the marginalised counties in Coast region,” said the program officer in charge of adolescent and sexual reproductive health.

“Most of the girls dropped out of school after being impregnated. It compromises education attainment and the ability to secure decent economic opportunities. Morbidity and mortality pregnancy-related complications and abortion, early and child marriages should end,” said Mr Korir who was speaking on behalf of the programme manager in the Ministry of Health’s Family Health Division.

Speaking during the 13th annual Kenya Primary School Head Teachers Association conference in Mombasa, Mr Korir said the latest report on teenage pregnancies needs a collaborative approach to deal with it.

“It leads to an economic and social burden on families. Some counties are disproportionately affected than others,” he added.

HEALTH EDUCATION

He urged the government to enhance health education in schools in the new curriculum.

“Strengthen coordination between the Ministry of Health and Education for health education in schools, service delivery and data. We should ensure that schools remain safe havens and free from sexual abuse and violence,” he insisted.

The programme officer urged head teachers to support retention of adolescent mothers in schools, and also children on anti-retroviral treatment.

“We should promote re-entry of learners who drop out of school due to pregnancy-related causes, facilitate teachers, and ensure parental and community empowerment on sexual reproductive health, including care and support for adolescents living with HIV,” said Mr Korir.

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