Increased number of teenage pregnancies are a major cause for alarm in Murang’a County, according to a survey by the county’s health department.
The study reveals that 34% of the teenage girls got pregnant between January and March this year.
The trend is more worrying as, according to officials, the number could rise to 40% by the end of 2019 if the situation is left unabetted.
A letter dispatched to religious leaders in the county, seen by Kurunzi, by health CEC Joseph Mbai, the number of teenage pregnancies has been increasing since 2017 from 26% to 30% (in 2018) and 34% in the first three months of 2019.
According to Mbai, there were 141 deliveries by children between the ages of 10 and 14 years in various hospitals, while an approximated five per cent delivered at home.
Kiharu Sub-County is the most affected with 43 teenagers giving birth in 2018 alone.
The data has showed there were a total of 25 teenage abortions of teenagers aged 10-19 years.
According to the data of teenagers who visited the facilities to give birth, 28 came from Kandara, seven in Gatanga, three in Kangema, 12 Kigumo, 43 Kiharu, seven Mathioya and 41 from Maragua.
“This is a wake-up call and we are calling on the church to be on the forefront to at least organize seminars, youth programmes and workshops for young girls”, read part of the report.
On the issue of family planning, the data shows a total of 4,477 girls aged between 15 and 19 years are on contraceptives, while more than 15,000 aged between 20 and 24 years in colleges and universities, are on the same.
“If we don’t end this now, dependency rate will be very high in the near future and the economy of the country will be negatively affected.”
Shockingly, 30% are believed to be impregnated by their age mates, while 70% is by relatives, drug abusers, business men and boda boda riders.
Other than affecting their education, early pregnancies have also put the teenagers at a risk of high blood pressure, anaemia, depression, low birth weight for the infants and maternal mortality.
Mbai noted that between January and March 2019, more than 100 infants were placed in incubators due to low birth weight.
Mbai concluded: “We have started going to schools to sensitize them on the complications of teenage pregnancies as well as consequences of engaging in early sex.”