Teenage Pregnancies Soar as Nairobi Leads with 2,379 Cases

By Lynnet Okumu / Published November 9, 2021 | 12:32 pm




KEY POINTS

The cause of the teenage pregnancies vary across counties, but they largely revolve around sexual violence, inadequate reproductive health information and services, forced marriage, poverty, lack of parental guidance, and peer pressure.


teenage pregnancies

Nairobi County leads in teenage pregnancies with 2,379 cases recorded between January and October 2021, a new report has revealed.

According to the National Council for Population and Development, the number is a slight decrease from the figure recorded in 2020 where it stood at 2,598 during the same period.

Homa Bay recorded 1,530 cases, as Kajiado followed closely behind with 1,496, Mandera 1,370, and Bomet 1,041 cases.

The cause of the teenage pregnancies vary across counties, but they largely revolve around sexual violence, inadequate reproductive health information, and services, forced marriage, poverty, lack of parental guidance and peer pressure.

Other Counties that also reported high adolescent pregnancy among girls aged 15 to 19 in 2021 include; Bungoma with 10,291, Meru 10,406, Kakamega 11,594, Narok 9,879, and Nairobi 13,319.

Teenage pregnancy and motherhood prevalence is at 18 percent, a cause for alarm that ending adolescent pregnancy requires a multi-sectoral approach.

In the Eastern Region, half the counties including, Embu, Kitui, Machakos, and Marsabit have reported an increase in adolescent pregnancy.

The issue of teen pregnancy has been here for the longest time now. In 2019, the cases recorded stood at 379,573. During the year, it was also reported that one in five Kenyan teenage girls is a mother.

These cases have been identified as some of the leading causes of school dropouts in the country. Every year, about 13,000 Kenyan girls drop out of school due to unplanned pregnancies.

The uncomfortable picture that emerges is that over 70,000 adolescents in developing countries including Kenya die each year from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

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There have been discussions on major media platforms, books and articles have been written concerning the teen pregnancy topic but still, the numbers keep rising each year. What could be the problem then? Could we be living in a morally decayed time?

There is a big difference between the society we were brought up in and the current society in terms of sexual awareness. Most teenage girls have little to no sex education at all. They try things out of curiosity.

Sex education is fundamental to guiding them on how to cope with the pressure that comes up with teenage life. This awareness should be carried out by society at large, starting from home, school, and church.

Parents have so far been blamed a lot for the increased teenage pregnancies. Most of them have decided to lend their primary responsibilities to the teachers, who might not even have the time to engage the student in sexual education.

During this stage of their lives, adolescents need people around them to guide and mentor them as they experience changes both physically and mentally. If the family is seemingly in an unstable state, if the parents are not free and supportive, they may be forced to seek security from outside, where they end up in the hands of men who impregnate them.

Some communities in Kenya marry off young girls from age 10 to men old enough to be their parents. At this tender age, these girls have not been exposed to any form of sex education and have no idea of what is expected of them.

Some communities that still cling to FGM encourage the girls to engage in early sex as a way of “testing their tools” before being married off. Such practices lead to cases of teenage pregnancies and should stop.

In some cases where the teen girls get involved with the teen boys, the effect is felt on both sides, majorly mental effects for the boy hence the discussion should not only focus on the girls. The boys and men are also major contributors and if they could get it that they also get affected the better.

For most teenagers, the real consequences of having a child at such a young age are unknown. Teens need to be aware of the harsh reality of raising a baby and the negative effects that an unplanned pregnancy can cause in both the mother and the child’s lives.

Although abstinence remains the best way to prevent pregnancy among teens, it is a fact that there are still a large number of them who will be involved in sexual relations. For this reason, teens must be provided with broad information on how to do so responsibly using various contraceptive techniques.

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Most of the sex education in schools consists of one message: “Don’t have sex–but if you do, use a condom”. The problem that arises from this is that teenagers are not being exposed to extensive information on the various forms of birth control, condoms, and other methods of prevention that are available.

Although the use of contraceptives at an early age is not a good option, what other option do we have?  It’s getting out of hands now and if not properly checked, it could become another big crisis.

So, if your child has to use contraceptive methods other than condoms then you must teach them about the dangers. It’s not just the prevention of pregnancies but also STIs.

Teen pregnancy has been associated with an increased rate of HIV in the country. According to NACC, the high rate of teen pregnancies remains a stumbling block in the quest to eliminate new HIV infections in the country.

It’s now the responsibility of every stakeholder to do their part, including the teenagers. Let us support each other as a community and ensure perpetrators who impregnate young girls are punished.

Let us go back to the root causes and bring our teenage children closer. Get information to these young souls without any assumptions that they know. And since most of them have varying reasons for getting pregnant, let’s approach each according to the group they fall.







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