Parents in Kisumu County have been cautioned against procuring contraceptives for minors in a bid to tame rising cases of teenage pregnancies.
Seme Sub County Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Elizabeth Owendi said even though the issue of teenage pregnancies in the area was a big concern, forcing minors to take contraceptives was against the law.
The DCC said some parents in the area were forcing their young ones to swallow pills, while others have put them on alternative contraceptive methods.
This, she said, was to blame for the high number of defilement cases in Seme Sub-County, dealing a blow to the multi-agency efforts to protect children in the area.
Speaking at Ratta Health Centre during World Contraceptive Day celebrations, the DCC said children believed to be on contraceptives in the area were prone to attacks, with the number of defilement cases on the rise.
Parents found culpable, he said, will face legal action to deter others from the move, which is gaining popularity as cases of teenage pregnancies skyrocket.
“Any parent found to have forced their children to take contraceptives will face the full arm of the law. If we find you, we are going to treat you as an accomplice in the defilement cases we are witnessing,” she said.
According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey of 2022, 11.1% of girls and young women aged 15–16 years in Kisumu have experienced pregnancy.
Owendi called for concerted efforts between parents, state agencies, and non-state agencies working in the area to address the challenge of teenage pregnancies.
Speaking during the same occasion, Kisumu County Executive Committee Mem(CECM), in charge of Medical Services, Public Health and Sanitation said the data on teenage pregnancies in the area was worrying.
The county government, he added, has this financial year set aside Sh4 million to support mother and child health at Ratta Health Centre, where most of the cases are handled.
Stakeholders, he added, must work out modalities to ensure that the affected teenagers have access to reproductive health services and continue with their education after delivering.
By Chris Mahandara