Church leaders in Kilifi County have asked the government to declare teenage pregnancies a national disaster.
Malindi Anglican Bishop, Lawrence Dena and his Jesus Cares Centre (JCC) counterpart, Thomas Kakala, decried the rampant cases of teenage pregnancies, especially among school girls and asked the government to swiftly address the matter.
Speaking to journalists at St. Mary’s ACK Church in Malindi Town yesterday, Bishop Dena urged the government to invest heavily in the education of all Kenyans, especially in the area of human sexuality based on the Word of God.
He noted that the rising numbers of teenage pregnancies in Kenya are alarming and causing great concern among all Kenyans, adding that it is a menace to the wellbeing of the nation as it destroys the life of the young generation.
“Teenage pregnancies in Kenya can be described as a crisis of health, education, economy and opportunity to achieve full human potential,” he said adding,
“It has devastated our country for the last two and a half years as almost one out of five Kenyan teenage girls are mothers,” he expressed concern.
He urged the government to formulate policies that would require parents to take greater responsibility in their children’s sexuality to help them avoid making wrong decisions.
“Parents have a duty to talk to their children about their potential to become parents and contract sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if they engage in sex,” he said, adding that parents must take their time to talk to their teenage children to counteract the influence of their peers and explicit content from the internet,” he said.
The clergy told parents to warn their sons and daughters to be decently dressed and avoid alcohol, drugs, disco-matanga and bad company and asked girls to cover their breasts and thighs when in public places and avoid very tight and transparent garments.
He said there was a need for the government to make Christian Religious Education (CRE) a compulsory subject from pre-primary to university levels so that children grow in the knowledge of the Word of God.
“There is evidence that schools with full-time Chaplaincy have recorded tremendous improvement in their academic performance and have very few cases of early pregnancies, and this can be eliminated with time through the continued teaching of God’s Word,” he said.
He urged the government to invest in the publishing and distribution of all textbooks, including Bibles, prayer books and hymn books to all schools and colleges to enhance the learning process.
“The Government should facilitate the distribution and placement of Bibles to all hospitals and hotel rooms, and to all prisons, as well as invest in mass training of the teachers of God’s Word.
“The Government could mount annual parenting courses for all parents with children in PP1 through Form Four,” he said noting that the church would supplement and complement Government efforts by ensuring effective teaching of children in Sunday School in a more organized way using one approved curriculum.
On his part, Bishop Kakala called upon the Government to use places of worship to fight the vice through Biblical teachings.
By Joe Caleb/Emmanuel Masha