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TEEN PREGNANCIES

State should take the lead in ending teen pregnancies

In Summary

•Adolescent pregnancy increases the risk of maternal mortality and morbidities

Young boda boda operators and teachers are the key culprits behind teenage pregnancies in Kenya, a survey has reported. Photo/FILE
Young boda boda operators and teachers are the key culprits behind teenage pregnancies in Kenya, a survey has reported. Photo/FILE

A number of factors have been associated with adolescent pregnancies. While many adolescents may choose to get pregnant or impregnate, many pregnancies occur in the context of human rights violations such as child marriage, harmful traditional rites of passage, coerced sex or sexual abuse.

Broader socioeconomic factors such as poverty, lack of education and limited economic opportunities among girls and boys may also contribute towards high adolescent pregnancy rates.

Furthermore, lack of reproductive healthcare services for adolescents particularly lack of contraceptive education and affordable, available contraceptive commodities means contraceptive use among adolescents is generally low, exposing the sexually active generation to all forms of explicitly sexual content either from media or ill intent people within their surrounding.

Adolescents face greater complications during pregnancy because they are not fully physiologically and biologically prepared due to gynaecological immaturity and incomplete pelvic growth.

Adolescents may be disadvantaged in maintaining a healthy pregnancy due to poor health education, inadequate access to non-judgemental antenatal care and skilled birth attendance among other healthcare services, or the inability to afford costs of pregnancy and childbirth.

Adolescent pregnancy, whether intended or unintended, increases the risk of maternal mortality and morbidities including complications of unsafe abortion, prolonged labour, delivery and the post-natal period, obstetric fistula among other effects. 

Averting this deep-rooted evil, as studies confirm Kenya's young population, multi-sectoral and consistent concerns over the young generation situations is key.

As health systems tackle plans on educating adolescents on emergency-based life skills combining sexuality education, education systems should do much more to ensure the provision of sexuality education in the teachers training syllabuses and institutions.

The Ministry of Interior and courts should strengthen law enforcement on predators. Devolution, Agricultural, Sports, Social Services, Tourism and all other dockets should go a notch higher in the fight to achieving sustainable development goals, especially goal number one; No poverty. The government agencies must take the lead as development partners fuel the lead to a healthy generation.