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.
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.
SOURCE The Nation, Kenya