Early childbearing can increase health risks for newborns as well as young mothers.The risks are higher for children of teen mothers, most of who are born with low birth weight.
The current data from Kenya data and health survey 2021 shows that teen pregnancy is at alarming stages especially in Kiambu, meaning a higher number of children with health risks.
The glaring statistics released during the launch of the County Resilience and Recovery program in Ruiru, indicates that 378 pregnant girls aged 10-14 years visited various health facilities during the year.
“We acknowledge the rising number of teen pregnancies in Kiambu; however, we are working with the County government to sensitize communities,” Kiambu County Director of Gender Olympia Karimi told KNA.
She added that currently, and working with the National Council for Population and Development, they are carrying out sensitization meetings all the way to Sub County levels through the Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) working committees but added though that is not enough.
“We are still asking partners to come in and assist us reach the wider Kiambu County because currently the challenge we have is financial support for mobilizing parents and communities for sensitization meetings,” Karimi said.
She explained that moral behaviour should also be promoted among the teenagers saying they have been engaging with church leaders from different denominations to preach on behaviour change from the pulpit.
According to Mary Chebet, a mother of three, “It is traumatizing as a parent to see your baby having a baby, my daughter got pregnant when she was 13 years after her KCPE It was not easy for everyone in the family but I accepted as a parent and fully supported her. She enrolled in a day school so that she can fully breastfeed the child and I took care of the baby when she was learning,”.
Speaking to KNA, Chebet indicated that the major reason why pregnancy cases keep on increasing in young girls is because of poverty, negligence from parents and lack of awareness.
Unwanted pregnancies, the beginnings of sexual relationship in unsafe setting and other difficulties experienced by vulnerable teenagers often do not occur randomly but in the context of a background that leaves them prone to some misfortune, she said.
The 2019 latest statistics from the Global Childhood says that Kenya has the third-highest teen pregnancy rates with 82 births per 1,000 births