The BBC World Service has reported along with many other international media organizations, the passing of the 1 million mark of Covid 19 related deaths worldwide over the nine months since the ‘pandemic’ began in January/February this year which has seen the shutdown of the world economy brought on by governmental (and media ) reaction to the ‘crisis’.

Some perspective is required. Worldwide deaths per year:

  • Tobacco related 7 million
  • Air pollution 7 million
  • Strokes (cerebrovascular) 5.5 million
  • Diabetes 1.6 million
  • Tuberculosis 1,500,000
  • Road crashes 1,350,000
  • Pneumonia 800,000
  • AIDS related 690,000
  • Breast cancer 627,000
  • Influenza 250,000 to 500,000
  • Inadequate sanitation 432,000
  • Murder 400,000
  • Prostate cancer 358,989
  • Preventable pregnancy related 295,000

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By Jane Mwangi

The on-going and fully justified uproar regarding the large number of teenage pregnancies in Kenya (18 per cent of Kenyan teenage girls have already begun childbearing), now exacerbated by the lockdown brought on by COVID-19 crisis, has led to a vigorous debate as to how to tackle the problem and where Kenya stands in the battle against ‘unplanned’ pregnancies.

On a positive note Kenya has hit and surpassed the target of 58 per cent in the use of modern contraceptive methods and is on course to meet the goals set for growth in contraceptive use by next year, topping the East African region in the use of contraceptives among married women.

But what about the married and unmarried women, including teenagers, that are not using contraception?

Ironically, as far back as the 2014 Kenya Health Demographic Health Survey reported that contraception information is more accessible to mothers after delivery.

It is also the case that to a large extent Kenyan society frowns upon sexual activity and contraception outside of marriage, hence young adolescents, unmarried women and women without children do not have as much access to information about and methods of contraception.

The National Council for Population and Development recorded an average of 6,300 maternal deaths in 2015 citing unplanned pregnancies as the major cause of maternal deaths.

According to the World Health Organization complications arising during pregnancy and childbirth are the second cause of death for 15-19 year-old girls globally.

Have things changed since the surveys from 2014 and 2015? Pretty much not: surveys and studies going back to 2003 depressingly report the same figures, with over 18 per cent of girls and young women aged 15 to 19 being either mothers or getting pregnant every year.

As the chairperson of the department for obstetrics at Aga Khan University Hospital has said, “if they [adolescents] are already having sex, why not let them access family planning services?”

Family Planning is often misunderstood to be solely about contraception, however when viewed holistically it includes educational services, and medical or social activities which enable couples to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved.

Other aspects of family planning aside from contraception include sex education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counselling and management.

The benefits of family planning for both individuals and nations are well recognized throughout the world.

A study conducted over several years in Bangladesh found that women who had the choice and opportunity of planning for the number of children they wanted and when to have them achieved earnings 40 per cent higher than women who did not have the same opportunity.

When women and their partners have access to contraception services, the socio-economic benefits accrue to the individuals concerned, their families and ultimately to the entire nation.

If couples can time and space births, both child and parents stand a much better chance of having better lives.

For a start mother and baby will be healthier.

The risk of death to both mother and child is higher during the first birth, mainly because it occurs at younger ages. Pre-pubescent or pubescent girls are also more likely to experience birth complications due to incomplete pelvic development.

Those mothers who thereafter have multiple births with only short spacing intervals in between and those with multiple children are also at increased risk.

There is empirical evidence showing that eliminating births among high-risk groups could eliminate between 20 to 25 per cent of maternal deaths.

Central to the future well being of the mother and her first child, and that of subsequent children if she decides to have any more, is the educational opportunity afforded by finishing her schooling before giving birth and all that flows from it in the form of higher income, better health and better education for her own children.

Early and unintended pregnancies are reckoned to contribute to one-in-four of girls who drop-out of school. But if girls stay in school and complete their secondary education they can look forward to achieving 40 per cent higher earnings to support her family compared to their compatriots who left school early to become young mothers.

Spacing subsequent births means households can invest more in each child’s nutrition, health and education – meaning happier, healthier and better educated children.

Family planning is a delicate and disquieting subject for some but we should not be afraid of it. We should be very afraid of the consequences arising from the ongoing pandemic of teenage pregnancies in Kenya.

Jane Mwangi is a Human Resources consultant

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Former ICEA Manager Jailed for Three Years Over Graft

Former ICEA manager jailed over graft

A former manager of Insurance Company East Africa (ICEA), has been jailed for three years for stealing more than Sh62.7 million from his employer.

58-year-old Lincoln Kivuti Njeru received the Sh62.7 million through Nyaga stockbrokers for sale of ICEA share investments and channeled the proceeds to his personal accounts instead of having the cash wired to the insurance firm’s accounts.

He pleaded for a non-custodial sentence, saying he regretted the theft, which was driven by “greed and a young stupid mind”.

Milimani Law Courts Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi rejected the probation report and sent Mr Njeru to jail without the option of a fine.

“From the totality of the evidence presented by the prosecution the losses experienced by ICEA were correctly linked to the accused person and not as investment losses as he purported,” the magistrate stated in his sentence.

The offence took place between January 17, 2003 and September 20, 2005. Njeru was given 14 days to appeal the sentence.

5 senior Kebs staff charged with stealing Sh26.3m

Five Kenya Bureau of Standards employees were on Monday charged with stealing Sh26.3 million from the agency.

Geoffrey Wandeto, Pauline Wamalwa, Martin Nyakiamo, Augustine Wachira and Rose Wangui were also charged with conspiracy to defraud Kebs of the money.

The five were charged with knowingly entering false statements of money received and used in the cashbook, for the Kebs account held at National Bank of Kenya’s Nkrumah Road branch in Mombasa County.

They also separately faced abuse of office charges.

The five pleaded not guilty and were each released on a Sh2 million bond with a surety of a similar amount or Sh500,000 cash bail.

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Ministry Of Education to reconsider Re-Opening Schools before January

Schools Re-opening

Parents have gotten an unexpected surprise following a recent announcement by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha that the ministry is reconsidering reopening schools before January 2020 as earlier announced.

CS George Magoha on Friday said the decision to review the re-opening dates of schools is informed by the statistics from the Ministry of Health, which show that Kenya is flattening the COVID-19 curve.

Magoha said that the official date for re-opening of schools will be communicated following a scheduled stakeholders meeting, set for September 28.

“Children will resume learning as soon as possible,” Magoha said last Friday at Mawego Technical Training Institute in Karachuonyo.

“Final Year University Students Can go  back to School”

Magoha also gave a go-ahead to final year students in universities who are taking courses that could require physical engagement to report back to school.

Ministry of Education officials have now requested their Health counterparts to vacate and fumigate public schools that were used as quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients ahead of the planned reopening of the institutions.

TSC/ Knut directs Teachers to Return to School

The TSC has directed teachers to return to school by Monday next week.

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia made the announcement on Monday following a meeting among stakeholders at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to map out the reopening of learning institutions.

Knut secretary-general, Wilson Sossion on Tuesday also urged teachers to honour their employers call and report back to school as directed, saying the teachers are prepared to recover the time lost.

President Uhuru Kenyatta closed all schools in the country following the outbreak of Covid-19 in March.

A section of parents have taken to social media to express their shock at the turn of events, saying they do not have school fees.

Below are some of the views shared on social media.

Godfrey Kimega :That’s only a month from now. Parents need time to sort themselves out. There are private schools that have closed forever and parents need to find new schools. January is the best time.
Rodgers Sarara :what of privately owned schools where the owners closed and the premises were rented out by the landlords due to rent arrears where will the pupils go.
Norman Mwangah:In that case I don’t see why schools were closed in the first place….. Just to change the desks… In same classrooms! I believe Magufuli was right.
Naiv Tonprince:Confused country. Economy is lower than ever. Some parents have lost jobs, the government doesn’t pay fees in “public” schools but let’s reopen them, okay.

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Kenya Unbowed – Remembering Westgate Attack 7 Years Later

Westgate mall attack

As the world commemorates the International Day of Peace today, Kenya is remembering the 2013 Westgate Mall terror attack that left 68 people dead and scores injured.

Seven years ago today, 21st Sep 2013, Al-Shabaab Terrorists attacked Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, in one of the worst terror attacks in the country to date.

A lot of questions Kenyans had regarding the attack have remained unanswered over the years. These include:

  • Why was there such delay and confusion on the day of the attack while Police and KDF commanders argued over who was in command?
  • Why, and in what circumstances, did KDF soldiers fire on the Police Recce Squad killing its commander Martin Munene?
  • Were the terrorists killed or did they escape?
  • If by all accounts the terrorists were either killed or escaped by mid-day on the day of the attack why did it take a further three days for the KDF to ‘clear’ the Westgate Mall? What were they doing?
  • Who was responsible for the massive looting of the Mall?
  • Why, three days after the terrorists had either died or escaped did the KDF blow up the mall with rockets?


In 2014, Israeli experts revealed how the use of social media, Twitter, to be precise put the lives of victims and security forces at risk during the September 2013 Westgate mall siege.

According to a study by the Israelis, which was published at Ben-Gurion University on August 25 in the journal Plos One, tweets by reporters, bystanders and witness accounts presented a serious security breach and may have contributed in prolonging the attack.

After monitoring and analyzing tweets throughout the Westgate siege, the experts concluded that live information shared notified the terrorists on the armed response against them, which they were able to use to enhance their reaction.


Three suspects were in 2019 charged for their alleged role in the Westgate Mall attack.  The suspects are accused of aiding the Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab.

The suspects, Liban Abdullahi, Hussein Mustafa and Ahmed Abdi were charged with 12 counts, some joint others separately.

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Lady Moran Animated Sci-Fi Short Film Trailer 2019


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