The Nyeri County government has inked a Sh 80 million deal with the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP) to setup a maternity ward to cater exclusively for teenage mothers in Nyeri town.
According to the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the acting CEC in charge of Health, Robert Thuo and JOICFP Chief International Programme Manager, Etsuko Yamaguchi-the ward whose construction starts in May will be housed at the Nyeri Town Health Centre.
Part of the funds will also go towards training the healthcare workers on reproductive, maternal and child health services which will be offered at the facility. As part of the deal, JOICFP has also pledged to equip the 50 bed-capacity maternity unit.
Yamaguchi said that the project was mostly targeting young mothers from Kiawara and Majengo slums who often opt for risky home delivery due to limited access to proper reproductive health services. She said that in addition to providing ante-natal and post-natal care the maternity wing would curb the rampant cases of risky home-deliveries among the adolescent mothers.
“Our main aim is to promote sexual health not only for pregnant women in their 20s and 30s but also for teenagers and adolescents. We just want to prevent unintended pregnancies among young people. The maternity will not be for the adults but we will take care of young people because we have a lot adolescent mothers,” said Yamaguchi.
A 2021 report by the National Council on Population and Development (NCPD) on the adolescent situation in Kenya recorded 379,573 teenage pregnancies. The report findings also revealed that one in five Kenyan teenage girls between the ages of 10-19 years was a mother.
Thuo said that the county department of health would deploy sufficient health care workers for the maternity unit.
By Ann Ngure and Wangari Mwangi