By Constance Ndeleko
As we round up the first half of the year, it is distressing that we are still recording highest cases of Teenage pregnancy. About, 3,964 girls have been impregnated between the months of January to May, 2020 in Machakos County only.
According to reports released by the Kenya Health Information Systems (KHIS) at least adolescents between the ages of 10-19 years are presented to be pregnant from different sub-counties in Machakos County, Kenya.
The reports indicates that teenage pregnancies stands at different levels on different months as show below:
January 804 teen pregnancy cases were reported with Athi River Sub County recording the highest of 129.
February 783 cases reported and Athi River Sub County still recorded the highest of 125.
March 911 cases were reported in Athi River still presenting 122 cases in the county.
April 789 cases were indicated in masinga Sub County with 134 cases being reported.
May 676 cases were reported still in Masinga Sub County holding 127 cases.
The number of cases reported from the month of January to May, 2020 summed up to 3,964 cases of teenage pregnancy. The rest of the sub counties in Machakos County include: Kangundo, Kathiani, Machakos, Matungulu, Yatta and Mwala highlighting different numbers of teenage pregnancies.
The report also indicates the percentage of pregnant women, who are adolescents between the ages of 10-19 years. The following sub counties indicated the highest percentage in the respective months.
January -Kathiani 39.9%
February 41.4% Kathiani
March 56.1% Masinga
April 47.8% Kangundo
May 36.9% Kangundo
As we battle the pandemic, it is stated that more than 28 girls on average became pregnant daily in Machakos County in the last five months. Machakos County Children Officer Salome Muthama says, the reported pregnancy cases among school girls are much less than the actual figure.
Ms Muthuma, attributes the rising cases to the pandemic that has led to closure of schools. Children are being exposed to sex pests and with containment measure to curb the spread of corona virus, elderly care givers are having it rough in monitoring their children.
How safe are children during this pandemic? Are people around them able to protect them? What measure are we taking to protect their well-being especially from perpetrators of child abuse?
What challenges are they facing and how fast can we solve issues affecting them? What is the government and relevant organization doing to help protect children in the communities especially with the Covid-19 restriction measures in place?
There’s need for concerted efforts to countermand the surge of the worrying trend, as this can lead to a high rate of students dropping out school.
Additionally, Kenya has been listed among countries with the highest teen pregnancy rates with 82 births per 1,000 births.
The year 2020 is one that will be remembered by many especially with the outbreak of the novel Corona Virus. As we discuss on how we can support our health care facilities, it is important to be cognizant of what is happening around children at all times.
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