Migori county teen pregnancies on rise

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020 20:52 |
Pregnant mother. Photo/Courtesy

A medical expert in Migori county has raised concern over increasing adolescent pregnancy rate in the region that is negatively affecting the lives of the youth in all spheres of development.

Last year alone, the region recorded a whopping 15,000 adolescent pregnancies.

 Dr Maurice Owino, a medic in the county says  this could be the highest number of adolescent pregnancies that has ever been registered from a single region in Kenya since Independence.

“This could be an indicator of a decaying society or a society that has despaired completely on inculcating good morals in the youth,” said Dr Owino during a recent forum of the county stakeholders on issues affecting population in the region.

The forum that drew participants from various government departments, religious leaders and other private entities was seeking to find ways of integrating population issues into development planning.

Dr Owino said the massive number of unwanted pregnancies recorded last year means the negative effects had percolated to all the crucial nerves driving the youths’ lives including their health.

A part from impacting negatively on their health, early births had also plunged the affected girls into unplanned marriages and child labour as the young mothers search for odd jobs to survive.

Statistics from Migori County Family Planning Strategic Plan report indicate that girls in the region begin to bear children at the age of 15-19.

This is 24 per cent of the total number of girls in that age bracket and the highest compared to the national rate which stands at 18 per cent.

The report attributes this trend partly to the low use of contraceptives among the adolescent which stands at only 17 per cent in the region and further state that the early pregnancies expose the girls to various health complications and resultant deaths.

 “We are in the era where a single health mistake will attract serious medical and economic complications to our youth and we need to change now if we are to give our children a better life,” added Dr Owino.

He said the youth life must be addressed through multifaceted approaches that include comprehensive medical and spiritual undertakings.

 “In this case, the adolescent must be embraced in all health measures to rid them of the risks of contracting dangerous diseases like HIV and Aids, while at the same time committing them seriously to bible scriptures to offer them spiritual nourishment with a view of helping them live an upright life,” he added.

The report of the largest adolescent pregnancy has not only sent fears among the health experts but also to the education officials who are now concerned about the school dropout rate that is also sky-rocketing in the region by the day.

Secondary transition

 “Transition to secondary education is 52 per cent. Around 49 per cent of children aged five to 14 years old in the region are, unfortunately, engaged in child labour,” says Dr Owino.

   He adds that Migori has a youthful population with people below age 15 recording 49 percent of the total population. This is mainly attributed by high teenage deliveries.

  “The devolved government must seriously focus on areas that the family planning issues can be integrated and more funds allocated to implement the same,” Dr Owino recommends, noting that a population that controls birth enables women and families to plan their births and have more time and resources to invest in their children’s health and education. -KNA

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