Alarming rates of teenager pregnancies in Kenya
By Winnie Kabintie
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha has decried the alarmingly high rates of teenage pregnancies in the country after a report revealed that more than 11,000 girls in primary and secondary schools got pregnant last year.
“We must all recognize that the issue of teenage pregnancies is a moral issue with heavy implications for basic and lifelong learning. It is a multi-sectoral challenge. We must all become part of the solution,” he said.
Magoha, who was speaking as he presented a report on teenage pregnancy before a Senate committee on Education on Thursday said that the number of unreported cases on teenage pregnancies are even higher compared to the reported cases.
According to the report, the counties with some of the highest cases of teenage pregnancies include; Kisumu (641), Kilifi (472), Murang’a (344), Elgeyo Marakwet (509) and Trans Nzoia (508) cases.
Other counties include Kirinyaga (242), Nyeri (225) Taita Taveta (215), Kwale (187), Mombasa (89), Tana River (42) while Lamu had the least number with only thirteen cases reported.
According to the Ministry of Education, the major causes of teenage pregnancies were lack of parental guidance, lack of sex education in schools and moral decay in the society.
The issue of boda-boda operators was also cited as a contributor to the alarming causes of teenage pregnancies.
Magoha told the Senate that the ministry was considering plans of establishing a committee to inform policy decisions on strategies to avert teenage pregnancies.
Last year, former Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed ordered an audit of all pregnant girls in schools in the wake of damning statistics on teenage pregnancies in the country, which were brought to the fore during the 2018 Kenya’s Certificate of Primary Examinations (KCPE) after dozens of schoolgirls failed to sit for their exams or sat for them in labour rooms due to pregnancies.