Is it a moral issue, a parenting issue or poor sex education in schools? In the recent past, the Ministry of education in Kenya has raised a red flag on the raising cases of teen pregnancy. The discovery came after nine girls had delivered babies during the national examinations period. It was noted that a high number of candidates became mothers during the three days of KCPE.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFP) has given sad statistics indicating that between June 2016 and July 2017, 378,397 adolescents in Kenya aged 10 to 19 got pregnant.
To appreciate fully the current problems with teenage pregnancies, there is a need to understand adolescent sexual behavior and the secular changes that are taking place. It is also important to note that teenage girls are considerably different from each other in pubertal and emotional development. This could be occasioned by differences in culture, as well as parenting.
Teenage pregnancy is characterized by a late entry into prenatal care system.
A multi-disciplinary approach should be put in place to end the vice that is changing the sphere of childhood for the children involved and robbing off the country a generation that would strengthen the economy of the nation.
Sexual education curriculum needs to be strengthened so that it can offer a candid outlook on the sexual and reproductive issues. This will help to demystify some sexual and reproductive issues. For example some teenage girls believe that they are too young to become pregnant. It will also empower the teenagers to value their bodies.
Community Initiatives Agenda runs a campaign dubbed, “Keeping the girl in school” in primary schools in Kajiado County where cases of teen pregnancy is quite high. Through the campaign, CIA jointly with the respective schools leadership has formed girls’ clubs where each girl signs a declaration affirming their commitment to working hard and pursuing education to the highest level. The girls are educated on sexual and reproductive health. Central to CIA engagement with the girls is building confidence and encouraging them to take up leadership roles.
CIA is also running a project dubbed, “Hope for Young Mothers” in the informal settlements of Mathare-Ngong, Kajiado North. The project seeks to identify, rehabilitate and empower the most vulnerable teenage mothers.
Teenage pregnancy is a pressing, contemporary, societal issue that the society can resolve through open discussion, good sex education, effective delivery of healthcare and research.