Nine counties hotspots for teenage pregnancy
Nine counties contributed over half of the total number of pregnancies recorded among girls in the 10-14 age bracket between January 2020 and September this year, according to a new report.
The report, jointly released by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) and National Aids Control Council (NACC) shows that the nine counties collectively recorded 20,803 pregnancies among girls in that age bracket, comprising 56 per cent of the total national tally.
The nine counties are Nairobi, Kajiado, Homa Bay, Meru, Kericho, Narok, Kisii, Mandera and Bomet, according to the report dubbed Adolescent Pregnancy in Kenya.
It further shows that Nairobi also topped in the number of pregnancies among girls aged between 15-19 years, contributing 6.4 per cent of the national tally during the period under review.
It was followed by Kakamega, Narok, Meru, Bungoma and Nakuru counties. The report notes that 2018 recorded the highest number of teenage pregnancies at 427,135.
“Adolescent girl pregnancy undermines achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. It is imperative for the country to embrace a Human Centered Designs Approach to better address this issue. The community level role cannot be overemphasised in the fight against teenage pregnancies,” the report notes.
NCPD Director General Mohamed Sheikh pointed out that Nairobi County has been leading in teenage pregnancies reported in the country since 2019.
“Adolescent pregnancy derails a country’s economic trajectory,” Sheikh said, noting that keeping girls in school is one of the best ways to reverse this trend.
The report - which also raises concerns on the impact of Covid-19 on the rise of teen pregnancies - listed a number of counties that recorded a spike in the period under review.
Mandera County accounted for 16.6 per cent increase during the period under review witnessing an increase from 15.6 per cent to 32.2 per cent, followed by Nyandarua at an average increase from 15.3 per cent in the last one year to 27.8 per cent.
“Baringo’s average adolescent pregnancy rose by four per cent from 21.6 per cent in 2020 to 25.6 per cent in 2021, while Kirinyaga recorded an average rise of 2.7 per cent from 16.7 per cent in 2020 to 19.4 per cent in 2021,” the report cites.
Kisii County’s adolescent pregnancy, according to the report, rose from 26.7 per cent to 28.3 per cent.
Bomet County also recorded a spike in adolescent pregnancies, rising from 36.7 per cent to 38.3 per cent at the end of last month, while Garissa recorded 11.5 percent in 2020, rising to 13.1 per cent in 2021.
The report singled out nine counties for recording a reduction in teenage pregnancies between 2020 and 2021. They include Trans Nzoia, Vihiga and Tharaka Nithi.
Others are Nandi, Lamu, Kwale, Kericho, Narok and Murang’a counties.
Ahead of the World Aids Day marked annually on December 1, the report gives a picture of why averting teen pregnancies is vital in preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
In the period under review, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori and Busia still lead in HIV prevalence among adolescent and young persons aged between 10-19 and 15-24 years old.
During the same period, there were 18,004 new HIV infections and 2, 793 Aids related deaths among adolescents aged 10-19 years, according to the report.
NACC Chief Executive Officer, Ruth Laibon Masha said in view of the results of the report, it will be difficult for the country to end Mother-To-Child-Transmission (MTCT) of HIV with child mothers.
“People don’t realise the magnitude that comes with teenage pregnancy. The situation is worsened when this child has to bear the double-burden of motherhood and possible sexually transmitted infection including HIV,” she said, calling for multi-sectoral approach interventions to end adolescent pregnancies.
She noted adolescent pregnancy puts girls and women at heightened risk of contracting HIV, STIs and cervical cancer.
However, a monthly trend analysis on the teenagers presenting at AnteNatal Clinics (ANC) indicates a 15 per cent increase in the number from March 2020 and March 2021 for both adolescents aged 10-14 years and 15 to 19 years.