• Despite curfew, adolescents will still find ways to sneak out as they now have a lot of time since schools were closed.
• Availability of phones and the internet does not make it easier to keep track of their movements.
The outbreak of coronavirus is bound to complicate the efforts of reducing teen pregnancies in the country.
With learning suspended, religious meetings cancelled, youth programmes suspended and public gatherings banned, adolescents now have a lot of time at their disposal and could engage in irresponsible behaviour leading to an increase in pregnancies.
Many young people get information from churches as well as schools since in some communities, talking about sex is taboo. Despite the government pushing measures on curfew, young people are still young people.
They will find ways to sneak out and meet in the dark where they engage in unprotected sex then sneak back in not knowing if they have conceived.
Idleness and the availability of phones and the internet does not make it easier to keep track of their movements — being at a curious age. The pandemic could negatively impact on the production of contraceptives including condoms. Inadequate access to youth-friendly services tailored for young people will lead to unintended pregnancies especially due to the strained health system at this time.
But while everyone is home and forced to stay there by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive, parents have ample time to sit their youth down and talk to them about responsible sexual behaviour.
They should also insist on the importance of adhering to the state’s order to stay at home, wash their hands frequently and maintain at least a one-metre social distance to stay safe from coronavirus.
This will also help them become responsible during the lockdown and avoid pregnancies or Sexually Transmitted Infections. They will also learn to use their time for educational purposes.
Naya Kenya, Nairobi