By Winnie Kabintie
The National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) has today launched a national campaign aimed at ending teenage pregnancies in the country.
The National Campaign to end teenage pregnancies, which is dubbed; LetsAct was launched during a dialogue on teenage pregnancies that brought about various stakeholders, including UN agencies, youth groups, NGO’s and government agencies.
Senator Agnes Zanni, while speaking during the National Dialogue and launch of the campaign to end teenage pregnancies, urged stakeholders to incorporate a multifaceted approach when it comes to addressing teenage pregnancies.
Education to end teenage pregnancies
“I think if it’s about legislation the country has enough laws and policies in place. Ending teenage pregnancies will be curved by taking a multi-sectoral approach from different stakeholders. We need to focus on interventions that tackle the issue of teenage pregnancies based on the needs of our young people. There is a project we’re running in schools in Kwale County, for instance, targetting girls and basically, the initiative is geared towards showing these girls the importance of academic achievement, and constantly affirming the girls that they matter and we have seen tremendous results,” she said.
Dr. Pamela- Women Rep, Migori, who was also speaking in the national dialogue to end teenage pregnancies emphasized the need for open sex education and to teach our boys and girls about their bodies.
“We will not stop Teenage Pregnancy unless we make the girls completely aware of themselves/their bodies. We need to bring the man on board in this fight” she said.
Teen Mentorship to end teenage pregnancies
Other participants in the dialogue called for teenage mentorship as a way of preventing early pregnancies and also alleviating poverty. Dr. Pamela further urged parents to get involved in the lives of their teenagers and get to understand their needs.
There were also calls from the youth for the government to make investments to ensure public health facilities are adolescent and youth-friendly and that essential medical supplies including contraception are readily available as one of the ways to End Teenage Pregnancies.
The Clergy emphasized on instilling the right values for both boys and girls.
Teenage pregnancy in Kenya
Teenage pregnancy in Kenya stands at 18.1% i.e 1 in every 5 teenage girls (15-19yrs) have given birth or are pregnant with the first child according to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (2014).
The national conversation to end teenage pregnancies comes in the background of the ICPD25 and Nairobi Summit and is aimed at accelerating the promise Kenya made to her girls.