Teenage pregnancies have been on the rise among Kenyan school going young girls. Last year, the statistics of pregnant girls dropping out of school were very disturbing, having to seat for their national exams KCPE/KCSE in hospitals or some even unable to sit for their exams due to pregnancy. Let’s take a slight pause about this issue and ask ourselves several questions. What is teenage pregnancy? What are its effects on our sisters and daughters? Why is it a red flag issue in our country and world at large?
Teenage pregnancies refer to any pregnancy that occurs at any age less than 20 years. The incidence of teenage pregnancies here in Kenya is alarming because about 1 in every 5 school going teenage girls get pregnant by the age of 20 years.
Adolescents and the young people are the only hope and hold the future of our country Kenya, in attainment of the set goals and visions especially in vision 2030. They make up the largest portion of our countries population, 24%. However, these adolescents end up dimming the only hope and trust entrusted to them by their parents. This is because most of these adolescents especially the girl child ends up being pregnant at a very tender age.
This is a wakeup call as a country since early sex initiation among these teenage girls largely affect them in that; it leads to increased incidences of unplanned pregnancies at a very tender age hence increasing the number of early childhood births as well as contraction of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs at a young age. These occurrences impact negatively on society and on a country at large as it compromises their education and increases the cases of school dropout which affects their ability to secure decent economic opportunities. Moreover, it increases the morbidity and mortality rates of both the mother and the child, encouraging early child marriages and also increasing the economic and social burdens on families. This, in turn, raises the incidence of poverty, increased hunger and affecting the acquisition of quality education and health care services which are the four main agendas Kenya is focusing to achieve by 2030.
A lot needs to be done to help curb the rising cases of teenage pregnancies. This can be done through; introduction and strengthening of sex education in schools, creation and maintenance of close relationship between parents and children and honest communication on sex and sexuality, advocating for elimination of some cultural traditions such as early child marriages as well as creating awareness among adolescents on sex, sexuality, the impacts of early pregnancies in their lives and HIV/AIDS and STDs prevention. As a country, therefore, a lot has to be invested and all stakeholders involved in curbing teenage pregnancies so as to promote attainment of quality education and eradication of this catastrophe which if not eradicated spells doom for our girl’s future.
The handling of this matter needs prompt and well-articulated measures to ensure we save our girls, sisters, and daughters from the glaring repercussions of teen pregnancies. Let’s join our hands as nurses and make this happen, TOGETHER WE CAN!
Machakos level 5 hospital