The Department of Health in Murang’a has written to leadership of local churches seeking assistance in containing increase of teen pregnancies in the county.
In a letter to various church heads within the county, Health Executive Member, Joseph Mbai noted that the number of pregnant young girls has been soaring since last year.
In 2018, the number of pregnant girls aged between 10 and 14 who visited local medical facilities was 141.
In the same year, those sought ante natal clinic services in government health centres were 6,192 without considering those opted not to seek medical attention from health facilities.
Mbai explained that the increase of number of young girls getting pregnant is a serious matter which members of the community need to tame.
“From January to March 2019, the pregnancy prevalence rate among girls aged below 19 years was 34 percent. With the current trend there will be so many teenage mothers by end of the year.” Stated Mbai, saying if nothing will not be done; the rate is likely to hit 40 percent.
The health executive reflected that in year 2017, pregnancy rate among young girls was at 26 percent. Last the rate increased to 30.4 percent thus the need to cause alarm for the increase.
Mbai notes that teen pregnancies do not only affect girls’ education but also poses health risk to the young girls.
“High blood pressure, anemia, low birth weight, depression, high rate of infant death among other negative health effects are likely to affect pregnant girls aged below 19 years,” added the Health Executive.
He noted that about 30 percent of the pregnancies are from the girls’ age mates in schools while 70 percent are from relatives, drug abusers, businessmen, boda boda riders and drivers, who leave a lot to be desired.
“This is a wakeup call to every one of us to speak about the pregnancies and enhance our morality with the church being in the frontline,” stated Mbai in the letter.
Mbai added that the teen pregnancies will not only have negative social well-being but will also affect the county’s economy owing to the fact that the teens are great human resource to the county.
He proposed workshops and seminars be held to sensitize the youth about pregnancies and how to avoid the same.
Churches, community leaders and organizations, Mbai said should partner with the county government to help instill social values among young people.
By Bernard Munyao