328,000 teenagers became pregnant during the pandemic

This is the lowest number recorded since 2017, but officials say it's still high

In Summary

•Gender CS Margaret Kobia who applauded Migori for reducing teenage pregnancy from 35 per cent to 21 per cent.

•Teen pregnancies in Kenya have been dropping since 1986 with small increases in some years.

The absolute numbers have been dropping.
TEEN PREGNANCY: The absolute numbers have been dropping.
Image: FILE

Another report has confirmed teen pregnancies reduced last year, compared to the last three years.

In total, 328,000 girls below 19 years got pregnant during the pandemic in 2020, according to a report by office of the President and the Population Council.

The figures have been mined from the Kenya Health Information System.

Ruth Kagia, deputy chief of staff in the office of the president noted this is still a large number, despite the drop.

“This has implications not just for the adolescents but also for the nation’s effectiveness in preparing the next generation for the future,” she said in Nairobi on Tuesday during the launch od the report, Impact of Covid-19 on Adolescents in Kenya.

Teen pregnancies in Kenya have been dropping since 1989 with small increases in some years.

In 2019, at least 379, 573 girls below 19 years became pregnant, according to the National Council on Population and Development.

Between July 2016 and June 2017, the number of pregnant girls was 378,397, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

The new report was officially launched by Gender CS Margaret Kobia, who applauded Migori for reducing teenage pregnancy from 35 per cent to 21 per cent.

“Adolescent girls, in particular, faced a heightened threat of physical and sexual violence, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and unintended pregnancy as well as sustained economic hardship,” she said.

Kobia noted that many adolescents were exposed to emotional, physical, and sexual violence due to increased isolation and domestic tension.

In Kenya, young people aged 10 – 19 comprise nearly a quarter of the population. 

Teenage pregnancy rate in Kenya has been dropping since 1989 with small increases in some years.
Teenage pregnancy rate in Kenya has been dropping since 1989 with small increases in some years.

The new report also looks at the impact of Covid-19 on adolescents including school dropout, lost learning momentum, and violence.

In total 250,000 girls and 125,000 boys did not re-enroll back in school last year after the long closure.

“Covid-related disruptions are having a disproportionate impact on adolescents, which have long lasting effects because what happens to adolescents during this sensitive period will positively or negatively shape their horizons and pathways later in life,” Kagia said.

The new report is one of the first in the world to look exclusively at the impact of Covid-19 on adolescents’ lives. 

It shows that that nearly all (97 per cent) adolescents reported challenges accessing learning materials during the pandemic.

Sizeable proportions of boys (52 per cent) and girls (39 per cent) reported experiencing physical violence during the pandemic, and about half of all adolescents said they had experienced symptoms of depression and 75 per cent reported skipping meals when their families could not afford food.

It leverages data collected on the social, education, health, and economic effects of Covid-19 on adolescents in June 2020 and again in February 2021.