The Baringo women Representative, Gladwell Cheruiyot has urged parents and guardians in the region to give girls who accidently get pregnant a second chance to go back to class once they have delivered to enable them pursue their academic life goals.
Mrs. Cheruiyot who expressed concern over high number of teenage girls dropping out of school due to early pregnancies noted that the trend was worrying and should be reversed by giving them an opportunity for re-admission.
The women rep said that the high rate of teenage girls at the ages 14-16 years especially from poor families discontinuing education after being put into family way prematurely ought to be addressed because it is aggravating poverty situation in marginalised areas.
The legislator made the remarks on Monday at Baringo county referral hospital, Kabarnet, while in company of Health Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mrs. Sicily Kariuki who toured the hospital to commission a modern Theatre and Renal units funded by National government.
The cabinet secretary at the same time flagged off a vehicle and motorcycles for use in boosting immunisation coverage in the county especially in areas where the number of vaccinated children under one year was extremely low.
“In the maternity ward, there is a big problem. The number of teenage mothers is alarming and something should be done to salvage the situation. Wale wasichana ambao wameacha shule tunasema “Kuteleza sio kuanguka” (to slide is not fall),”she stressed.
In the ceremony attended by among others Governor Stanley Kiptis, County Commissioner (CC), Henry Wafula and Baringo North MP, William Cheptumo, Mrs. Cheruiyot urged parents and education stakeholders to support her clarion call to have pregnant school girls re-integrated to education system instead of leaving them to be condemned by the ‘unforgiving’ society.
The Baringo County MP voiced the concern after accompanying the CS in guided inspection tour of the refurbished hospital maternity unit where she was shocked to realise that majority of the clients were teenage girls some aged 14 grappling with labour pains, others waiting to give birth as few had already gone through and were nursing their newborns.
“My office has a programme that gives a second chance to girl-child in Baringo County who drop out of school due to pregnancies. I want to tell you that school girls who get pregnant should know that it is not the end of their education,” she said.
Cheruiyot announced that a team from her office will be dispatched to the county referral hospital to identify and register all the victims of teenage mothers with the aim of incorporating the affected girls into the programme instead of leaving them to get wasted, a move which she noted will make poverty to thrive in affected villages.
The women representative reiterated that the victims of early pregnancies have a right to go back to school and continue with learning saying those who have defied odds to resume classes have scaled greater heights in education.
In her key address, the CS noted with deep concern that more than 5,500 children under five years in Baringo County were not immunised in 2018.
Mrs. Kariuki said that in some parts of the county the immunisation rate was extremely low, a situation she stressed, calls for collective efforts from relevant sectors to raise the vaccination levels close to the national average rate of 80 percent.
She said the national government was committed to help the county reach the unvaccinated children especially in far flung areas in a deliberate move to help the achieving the county’s universal healthcare coverage (UHC) as aspired in Vision 2030 and reinforced in the President’s Big Four Agenda on affordable healthcare.
The CS said her ministry will partner with the county to establish community health units in areas where it does not exist so that children and mothers in such remote villages do not have to travel long distances to large health facilities for immunisation jabs.
By Vincent Miningwo/Joshua Kibet