Cases of teenage pregnancy in Likuyani are worrying

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Members of the health stakeholders forum
Members of the health stakeholders forum

The Ministry of Health has raised concern over increased cases of teenage pregnancies in Likuyani Sub County with a report indicating that 30% of pregnant women attending clinics in the area are under-age girls aged between 10 and 18 years.

Addressing a health stakeholder’s forum held at Kongoni youth empowerment center, the Sub-County reproductive health officer Daniel Maino Mugabe said the number of teenage pregnancy was alarming, warning that the number may go higher than the current figures if immediate intervention is not sought.

With the help of other relevant stakeholders, Maino believes that young girls will be helped and continue with education without interruption.

The stakeholder meeting comprised Ministry of Health officials, National and Kakamega County Government’s administrators, Police, Departments of Children and Social Services, Education together with Community Based Organisations narrowed on ‘High Impact Intervention’ as a strategy to end teenage pregnancy in the Sub-County.

Participants during a health stakeholders forum
Participants during a health stakeholders forum

According to Maino, ‘High Impact Intervention’ if adopted will single out each of the contributors to the early teenage pregnancy while advising on proper intervention especially on gender based violence and sexual harassment among school going girls.

“Stakeholders under ‘High Impact Intervention’ will be meeting monthly to assess the progress of intervention strategies, this will form a common ground for addressing other emerging issues,” said Maino.

The reproductive health official admitted that the health department alone can’t succeed in addressing teenage pregnancy in the Sub-County.

He said they will work with the Ministry of Education to ensure their return to school policy for girls having children at home is implemented well.

Maino revealed that the health department will be involved in counseling of girls with children to reduce stigma as they attend school.

He noted that poverty and ignorance among the young maturing girls on their reproductive health as some of the leading triggers of early pregnancy among school going girls.

Sexual harassment from boda boda riders and some teachers were identified as part of the causes of early teenage pregnancy.

Bottlenecks towards getting justice among affected girls, corruption, kangaroo courts and failure for one to testify before courts due to threats were also pointed out as some of the setbacks to address teenage pregnancies in Likuyani Sub-County.

Addressing the same forum Abubakar Shikanda the Sub County gender based violence said cases of teenage pregnancy and sexual harassment shot up during corona period.

Shikanda further blamed Kangaroo Courts as major hindrance to justice among impregnated girls where parents agree locally with the victims to settle the cases outside the courts.