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GBV,teen pregnancy at alarming stage in Nakuru

Over 31 per cent of women in Nakuru County aged between 15 and 49 years who are either married or have an intimate partner have faced physical, sexual, and emotional violence from their spouses, the Kenya Democratic Health Survey (KDHS)-2022 shows.

24 per cent of women in Nakuru have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, the report revealed, while 14 per cent have also experienced sexual violence since a similar age.

The findings were released during the Nakuru 2022 KDHS report dissemination forum, which was attended by the Nakuru County Commissioner, Mr. Leyford Kibaara, and the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Health, Ms. Roselyn Mungai.

The report further indicated that 9 per cent of women had experienced physical violence 12 months before the survey, while 4 per cent had been subjected to sexual violence during a similar period.

County Commissioner raised concern over the rising cases of teenage pregnancies in Nakuru, saying that the statistics were a matter of concern.

He said the vulnerability of the girl child continues unabated given the grim statistics contained in the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey report detailing the rate at which teenage pregnancies are on the rise in the country.

The County Commissioner further raised concern over the growing number of new HIV infections, noting that the risk of new infections was now being recorded in rural areas.

The CC said that previously, the Nakuru transnational highway had been an area of great concern, but while infections had fallen along that route, it was worth noting that there were increased new infections in areas previously considered safe.

He said there was a need to engage in targeted awareness campaigns within rural areas with clear and precise messages.

Mr. Kibaara further expressed concern that most of the new HIV infections in the country occur among adolescents and young people aged between 15 and 24 years.

A report by the National Syndemic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC) reveals that at least 41 per cent of all new HIV infections in the country occur among adolescents and young people aged between 15 and 24 years.

The report observed that in 2022, some 260,734 adolescent pregnancies were reported in the country, among girls aged between 10 and 18 years, representing 18 per cent of all pregnancies.

Out of these 15,279 were girls aged between 10 and 14 years, whereas 245,455 were in the age group of between 15 and 19 years. Despite the number being higher, the number of pregnancies dropped from a total of 316,187 reported in 2021.

“One in every five (23 per cent) antenatal clinic clients was an adolescent aged 10 to 19 in the last seven years. About six per cent of pregnancies occurred among girls aged between 10 and 14 between 2016 and 2022,” reads a section of the NSDCC report.

Out of these 15,279 were girls aged between 10 and 14 years, whereas 245,455 were in the age group of between 15 and 19 years. Despite the number being higher, the number of pregnancies dropped from a total of 316,187 reported in 2021.

Mr. Kibaara said cases of pregnancy among adolescents are worrying and that the girls are likely to be infected with HIV if those impregnating them are HIV positive.

The 2022 KDHS is the 7th Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Kenya since 1989.

County Executive Committee Member for Health, Ms. Roselyn Mungai, said the survey had provided a critical tool for planning, policy formulation, and monitoring and evaluation of projects.

Ms. Mungai noted that the report presented new indicators not collected in previous KDHS surveys, such as early childhood development, health expenditures, and information on chronic diseases.

“It will provide us with indicators relevant for monitoring national and sub-national development agendas such as the Kenya Vision 2030, Medium Term Plans (MTPs), and County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs),” the CECM noted.

Ms. Mungai stated that the report will act as a tool to assist the County Government in assessing the effectiveness of investments and guiding resource allocation.

By Jane Ngugi

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