• Since schools closed in March, at least 6,000 girls reported pregnant. 10,000 girls could be pregnant by the time schools reopen in January.
• Girls should be sensitised, predators stopped from making sexual advances that ruin girls' lives.
More than 6,000 schoolgirls are pregnant in Bungoma since schools were closed in March due to Covid-19.
Bungoma Woman Representative Catherine Wambilianga on Saturday revealed the record pregnancy numbers after collecting data.
She predicted that by the time schools reopen in January, 10,000 girls may be pregnant.
She said concerted efforts should be put in place to stop youths and men from ruining girls' lives.
“These are young girls who don’t understand the importance of sex. Men should stop exploiting their ignorance and poverty and preying on them. They are ruining their lives,” Wambilianga said.
“This pregnancy pandemic is hurting girls who were safe while they were busy in school. Now that they are idling at home, parents should safeguard their daughters," she said.
Let young girls stay at home or else by the end of the pandemic, we may have a different generation of young mothers ...10,000 pregnancies when school resumes.Woman Representative Catherine Wambilianga
"Parents should stop them from seeking such 'suitors' roaming around."
The county legislator said her office was trying to sensitise the girls to avoid men who approach them with cash and benefits for sexual favours.
Some girls take money because their families are hungry. Some take money to buy sanitary pads.
“Other leaders should unite with us and help sensitise young girls on how to keep off sex at a tender age because it will ruin their future. Pregnancy will make them mothers at the wrong time and hurt them psychologically," she said.
The lawmaker added, “Let young girls try and stay at their homes or else by the end of the coronavirus pandemic, we may have a different generation of young mothers.
She urged them to avoid male 'friends'.
“By January 2021, we may have more than 10,000 pregnant teenage girls in Bungoma county if we don't put in more efforts to sensitise them," Wambilianga said.
She urged child advocacy and rights groups to help girls.
The county hit the headlines in 2014 when 20 girls were found pregnant at Chepkurkur Primary School in Kopsiro district, Mt Elgon constituency.
(Edited by V. Graham)