Rise In Teenage Pregnancies Blamed on Parents’ Failure To Educate Children About Sex Education
Stakeholders in Kisii county have been urged to work together to combat teenage pregnancies, HIV infections, and gender-based violence (GBV), colloquially known as the ‘triple threat.’
Speaking at the Nyabururu Grounds on the outskirts of Kisii town, Health Principal Secretary (PS) Susan Mochache urged various community stakeholders to collaborate in order to address the three challenges that have continued to undermine young girls’ health, education, and economic empowerment.
“This fight against the ‘triple threat’ is not a battle that the government will win alone.
“That’s why the government is carrying out campaigns to educate health stakeholders on the importance of enlightening communities on their responsibility in protecting the country against these challenges,” Mochache noted.
Mochache emphasized the importance of the recently launched campaign to end the “triple threat” among adolescents, given that young person under the age of 24 accounts for 60% of the total population in the country.
Kisii County was among the counties with the highest number of teenage pregnancies in 2021, with 66500 pregnancies among adolescents aged 10 to 19.
The PS blamed the rise in teenage pregnancies on parents’ failure to educate their children about sex education and urged chiefs to hold youth barazas where young people could be educated about such vices.
Mochache observed that the majority of pregnant students were forced to drop out of school in order to care for their children, perpetuating the poverty cycle.
In terms of GBV, she discouraged the settlement of cases in kangaroo courts and instead urged parents to report the cases to the police so that the perpetrators could face the law.
Furthermore, the PS stated that gender-based violence cases are on the rise, stating that six out of every ten reported cases involve children aged 10 to 19, accounting for 63 percent of all cases.
She praised community health volunteers (CHVs) for their work in disease prevention and community health education, noting that they play an important role in health care.
“With the community health volunteers, we will prevent many diseases from getting to hospitals as we can educate people on the right diet and the importance of seeking early treatment before any health condition worsens,” Mochache said.
Dr. Andrew Mulwa, Ag. The Director of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health stated that it is the responsibility of community health workers and leaders to educate young people about the risks of HIV.
Mulwa stated that Kenya spends approximately Sh25 billion per year on HIV prevention and treatment and that the country will continue to bear an additional economic burden as a result of new HIV infections among adolescents.
According to Ministry of Health data, 51 percent of new infections are associated with adolescents aged 15-24 years, and HIV accounts for 63 percent of adolescent deaths aged 10-19 years.
The Director urged parents and community stakeholders to protect their children from the “triple threat” by providing age-appropriate sex education that does not expose teenagers to harmful sex materials.
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Mulwa went on to say that the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) Policy provides guidelines for community leaders and parents to use in teaching adolescents about healthy living, including healthy relationships.
Kisi County Executive Committee Member for Health, Sarah Omache, Kitutu Central Deputy County Commissioner, Elizabeth Atemi, National Government Administration Officers (NGAO), and residents from various Kisii County sub-counties also attended the forum.