Teenage Pregnancy A Challenge To The Economy, Nairobi County On Top Of The List.
Teanage pregnancy has become a great challenge to the education sector and economy of the country at large. According to data from the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) cases of teenage pregnancy are on a rise in the country with Nairobi, Homa Bay, Mandera, Kakamega and Kajiado Counties recording the highest numbers of teenage pregnancies last year.
The NACC data revealed that Nairobi has the highest number of pregnant teenagers aged between 10 – 14 years (2332) and 15 -19 years (12723) in 2021.
Homabay Mandera and Kajiado followed closely with pregnant adolescents aged between 10 – 14 years with 1,522, 1,493 and 1,370 cases respectively.
For teenagers aged between 15 and 19 years, Kakamega and Meru Counties were leading with 11,386 and 10,307 cases respectively.
Taita Taveta which had 16, Mombasa 21 and Lamu 17, were counties with the least cases of teenage pregnancies of adolescents aged between 10 and 14 years. Lamu (608), Nyeri (1,438) and Taita Taveta (969) had the least number of adolescent pregnancies aged between 15 and 19 years.
As per the NACC report some of the established causes of early pregnancies include lack of sex education and awareness, peer pressure, poverty, drugs and substance abuse, early marriages and defilement.
Consequently, NACC has recommended that schools inform both parents and guardians any time they find a learner who is pregnant as soon as possible and enrol the affected learner in a guidance and counselling programme.
The council has also urged schools to ensure that learners access health services appropriate to their age such as antenatal care.
NACC also recommended that school, the affected learner and parents or guardians should sign a commitment letter for the pregnant learner to re-enter school six months after they have delivered. The six months should give enough time to the learner to nurse the newborn.
Besides, NACC recommends that learners should be allowed to stay in school as long as it is possible and should be allowed to sit for the national examinations if they are in a health condition that makes it possible.
Early pregnancy (a pregnancy that occurs in girls below the age of 18 years) in Kenya has been the main reason for school drop-out cases among girls who are adolescents. This is because early pregnancies expose young girls to health challenges including mortality and morbidity due to complications arising after giving birth and unsafe abortions.