By Raisa Okwaras
Over 13,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 18 in Narok County got pregnant in 2021, the county health department reports.
The figure forms 27% of the total number of total pregnancy cases recorded nationally in the year 2021 from January till November.
The County Health Reproductive Coordinator Chesang’ Toroitich revealed this during a gender stakeholders meeting that took place at a hotel in Narok town. The numbers, which were recorded during the first Antenatal Clinic (ANC) Visit, comprised of 1203 girls aged between 10 and 14, and 12,390 girls aged between 16 and 19 years old.
Narok county has been on the spot for teen pregnancies, especially since the figures raise eyebrows as to what exactly is the cause of the alarming teenage pregnancy rate. In 2021, Narok South sub-county had the highest number of teenage girl pregnancies of 3300 whereas Narok North sub-county followed suit with 2500 teenage girl pregnancy cases.
The other sub-counties include Trans Mara West with 2,380, Narok West with 2,164, Narok East with 1,750, and Trans Mara East with 1,500.
Out of the 13,000 cases, 1170 pregnant mothers confirmed having faced birth-related complications as they went to give birth in different health centers in Narok County. According to Toroitich, the number had gone down by about 2,000 as compared to the previous year.
According to the County Health Reproductive Coordinator, the closure of schools caused by the covid-19 pandemic is the reason to blame for the staggering number. He urged all government officials and parents to come together to shun teen pregnancy as it tampers with the future of these girls.
“I believe that the data given by the health department could just be a drop in the ocean. The number could be higher because not all children give birth in hospitals,” said Mrs. Tunai.
If all stakeholders come together to play their role, teenage pregnancies will be a thing of the past.