•Mumbo said the county aims to reduce number to zero through a board that will comprise various stakeholders.
• Little progress so far; when cases decline in one area, there's a surge in other areas.
The war on teen pregnancies is far from over in Kwale county, epicentre of the epidemic where more than 5,000 cases have been recorded in this year.
Speaking on Monday in Kinango during the launch of the HPV vaccine for girls, county nursing officer Edward Mumbo said health facilities had reported a "huge number" of early pregnancies in six months.
He said the campaigning against teen pregnancy had only made the slightest difference. The rate had declined in some areas and surged in others, he said.
“Since we started creating awareness of teenage pregnancies in 2016, only a small difference has been found, Mumbo said. "This means that in places like Kinango that were previously leading, reports have gone done. Cases have emerged in new zones," he said.
The new areas are Matuga and Lunga Lunga sub-counties where most of the pregnant girls are below age 19.
Getting pregnant at a young age is not safe because girls' bodies are not mature and complications are more likely, possibly resulting in death without proper childbirth care, Mumbo said.
So abstain from sex, he advised.
The nursing officer also advised parents to help young mothers attend prenatal clinics and give birth in hospitals.
Mumbo said the county aims to reduce the number of child and teen pregnancies to zero through the efforts of a board involving various stakeholders.
He said the panels power will identify the major causes of teen pregnancy and look for permanent solutions.
Mumbo, however, reminded parents to assume full responsibilities looking after their children, especially during school holidays.
“We are now in the long holidays. This is the time guardians should open their eyes and monitor every movement youngsters make to avoid more scandals,” the nursing officer said.
Kwale executive committee member for Education Mangale Chiforomodo said efforts to reduce teenage pregnancies have improved by 48 per cent, terming it a great start.
County director of Education Jane Njogu last week reported zero cases of early pregnancy during the just-concluded Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam.
(Edited by V. Graham)