Alarm as 3,000 girls fall pregnant

By Collins Orono

Authorities in Turkana County have raised an alarm over the bulging number of girls who are pregnant since March this year.

According to the Turkana County menstrual hygiene champion Rael Akoru, statistics from health facilities in major towns in the county that include Lodwar, Lokichar, and Kakuma indicate that at least 3, 000 girls are pregnant.

She said that due to the vastness of the area and the locals’ nomadic lifestyle of settling at hard to reach remote villages, there were close to 2, 000 cases that were not officially recorded.

Akoru also noted that some girls are being married off to suitors in exchange for livestock. Pregnancies of children as young as 11 years have also been reported, she said.

“Some of these young girls are being made pregnant by boys as young as 12 years,” she said.

She noted that lack of access to information on reproductive health and sexual education was a major contributor.

One of the reasons for the increased cases of teenage pregnancies according to Akoru was lack of sex education.

“Many parents have abandoned their responsibility of talking to their children about sex leading to the cases,” Ms Akoru said.

She was speaking during the ongoing mass public awareness exercise on sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) prevention rolled out by International Rescue Committee (IRC) through funding from Unicef.

IRC Turkana Field Manager Anthony Macharia, said that together with key stakeholders including Turkana County Government, Diocese of Lodwar and Department of Children services, they have cited a significant increase in intimate partner violence against girls and women in the county fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“School girls at home are among the most vulnerable group exposed to intimate partner violence. Through road shows within key hotspots areas in Lodwar town, we are sensitizing locals on why it is important to protect girls and women,” Mr Macharia said.

Article originally published by Nation

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