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Evidence-based plans will help curb teenage pregnancies

Strategies to reduce teen childbearing and its associated negative outcomes may reduce teen pregnancy and save taxpayer money.

In Summary

• Teen childbearing costs taxpayers millions of shillings annually due to lost tax revenue.

• Strategies to reduce teen childbearing and its associated negative outcomes may reduce teen pregnancy and save taxpayer money.

When girls in Kenya fall pregnant, they must often deal with stigma, fear and shame
When girls in Kenya fall pregnant, they must often deal with stigma, fear and shame
Image: FILE

Parenting at any age can be challenging, but it can be particularly difficult for adolescent parents. Childbearing during adolescence negatively affects parents, their children, and society.

Compared with their peers who delay childbearing, teen girls who have babies are less likely to finish high school; more likely to rely on public assistance, more likely to be poor as adults and more likely to have children who have poorer educational, behavioural, and health outcomes over the course of their lives than do children born to older parents.

Teen childbearing costs taxpayers millions of shillings annually due to lost tax revenue, greater expenditures for public healthcare and foster care. Strategies to reduce teen childbearing and its associated negative outcomes, including implementing evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programmes, expanding access to medicaid family planning services, and utilising mass media campaigns to promote safe sex may reduce teen pregnancy and save taxpayer money.

This assistance may help improve the likelihood of success in adulthood for these young parents as well as reduce the probability that they will have other children as teens and that their children will become teen parents.

Adolescence marks the period between childhood and adulthood when hormonal changes transform boys and girls into young men and women able to have children.

Hormonal methods of birth control and barrier methods (such as condoms) can reduce the risk of pregnancy, and condom use with every sexual act can greatly reduce — though not eliminate — the risk of STDs.

Condom and contraceptive use among adolescents has increased but many adolescents are inconsistent users

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