Kenya Ranks 3rd Highest Globally In Teen Pregnancies
According to new Ministry of Health statistics released on Tuesday, 98 new HIV infections were recorded every week among adolescents aged 10 to 19 years in the last one year.
This, they claim, is due to the triple threat of new HIV infections, gender and sexual violence, and adolescent pregnancies.
Kenya remains the third-highest country in the world in terms of teenage pregnancies, with one in every five adolescent women aged 15 to 19 already mothers or pregnant with their first child.
According to the Ministry of Health, HIV AND AIDS continue to be a major public health threat for adolescents and young people.
The data from the Ministry of Health and the National Aids Control Council (NACC) indicates that the number of new HIV infections and adolescent pregnancies is on the rise.
“Kenya has the 3rd highest teen pregnancies worldwide where one in every five adolescents aged 15 -19 are already mothers or pregnant with their first child,” said Health PS Susan Mochache.
In 2017, Kenya had nearly 67,000 adolescent pregnancies out of a total of 317,000. The majority of adolescent pregnancies were between the ages of 10 and 19.
“We deliver about 12000 women every month and out of this, 10% are mothers between 10-19 years…
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“n the last one year, we have seen almost 6,000 teen pregnancies in Nairobi and 50% of them end up being HIV positive,” Dr. Ouma Oluga noted.
Nairobi, Kajiado, Homabay, Meru, Kericho, Narok, Kisii, Mandera, and Bomet counties accounted for 56% of all teenage pregnancies among adolescents aged 10 to 14.
As the country makes progress toward eliminating AIDS as a public health threat in adolescent girls and young women by 2030, Kenya still faces a ticking time bomb of HIV infection among women of childbearing age.
As of 2021, adolescents aged 10 to 19 account for 53% of all sexual gender-based violence cases.
Adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 29 account for 61% of all new adult HIV infections.
Kisumu, Kisii, Narok, Nandi, Laikipia, and Tana River counties accounted for 72 percent of all new infections.
In 2021, Dagoretti North-Sub County was responsible for 15% of all new HIV infections among over 430 adolescents aged 10 to 19 in Nairobi County.
Teenage pregnancy is still clear evidence of unprotected sex, which carries risks beyond pregnancy.
As of 2021, more than 1.4 million Kenyans were infected with HIV.
Children aged 0-4 years accounted for over 78,000 of the infected population, with adolescent girls and young women particularly vulnerable due to poverty, a lack of education, and a lack of employment opportunities.
In response to the shocking situation, the Ministry, through the National Aids Control Council, has launched a new countrywide campaign dubbed ‘End the Tripple Threat,’ with the goal of addressing the three major issues affecting young and adolescent people.