Authorities in Nandi County have raised concern over increased cases of teen pregnancy, early marriages and Gender based violence in the region.
Nandi County Director of Youth, Gender and Social Services George Ondong’a in a recent report said in the last financial year, over 5,797 school going children were reported to have been impregnated.
Emgwem and Aldai sub counties have the highest number of reported cases attributing it to poor parenting, poverty and lack of guidance and counseling from parents
Statistics from the Gender office reveal that Emgwen had 1,149 cases of teen pregnancy followed by Aldai 1,072, Tinderet 991, Chesumei 850, Mosop 840 and Nandi Hills 885 cases
He stated that this were the cases reported in hospitals during Ante-natal clinics adding that the cases that go unreported could even be more especially in remote areas where most people opt to resolve matters out of court
“Child pregnancy is still a major problem. We have information that many young girls are getting married in villages and give birth at home. This has forced school going children to drop out of school,” he pointed out
Speaking in his office, Ondong’a said the cases have become rampant despite numerous campaigns against the vice.
The Gender officer noted that situations such as hunger, poverty, social economic hardships, and negligence from parents were the contributing factors to the rise of teenage pregnancies.
He said collaborative approach and commitment are needed for partners to succeed in the fight against teen pregnancy.
“Its high time education stakeholders, church leaders and parents should come together and save the girl child,” said Ondong’a
He called upon local administrators to stop aiding culprits who are impregnating and defiling young girls and instead report them to the authorities so that they can face full force of the law.
“Administrators who are encouraging out of court settlement were derailing the fight against the vices,” he said
According to health experts, early childbearing can increase risks for newborns as well as mother’s. Babies born to teenage mother’s faces higher risks of low birth weight, prolonged and difficult labor, hemorrhage, among other severe complications.
By Linet Wafula