Narok County Commissioner Evans Achoki has decried the high number of girls giving birth while sitting for national examinations.
Speaking to the media in his office on Tuesday, Achoki said five girls had to do their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) from the hospital as they delivered during the days of the exam while three other girls are currently doing their KCSE from hospital beds.
“We will ensure that all candidates sit for their exams despite the challenges. It is our role to take the exam papers to the girls wherever they are, though in hospital beds,” he said.
According to statistics given in the Narok department of Education, over 800 girls reported back to school pregnant when schools were re-opened early this year after the long break occasioned by the emergence of Covid-19.
Commissioner Achoki pleaded with parents to be vigilant in guarding their children during this holiday period so that the girls do not fall in the temptations of engaging in early sexual relations.
“This holiday, please parents be close to your children and give guidance. Don’t leave your girls just to idle at home because an idle mind is always a devil’s workshop,” he reiterated.
He also challenged church leaders to look for a way of reaching out to the young people to teach them morals to avoid early pregnancies.
“Despite the fact that we are in a season when churches should limit their congregation because of Covid-19 pandemic, the churches should look for a way to mentor the young girls and boys so that they don’t engage in premature sex,” he said.
The records from the county department of health show 15, 542 teenage girls visited antenatal clinics in various hospitals in the county in the year 2020.
“The number of girls between the age of 10 and 14 who fell pregnant last year was 827 while those between the age of 15 and 19 was 14,715. The number was captured during the first visit to the clinics hence we are sure that no one was counted twice,” said Dr. Francis Kiio, the county director of health.
Dr. Kiio lamented that the percentage of teenage pregnancy stood at 40 per cent, which is more than double the national estimate of 18 per cent teenage girls pregnant.
“The factors that contribute to these high percentage is peer pressure, need for money, poverty, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and lack of parental guidance,” he said.
By Ann Salaton