Cases of teenage pregnancies are on the rise in the coastal town, a health official has warned.
County Reproductive Health Coordinator Emily Mwaringa told members of the county assembly about 3,000 cases of underage pregnancies were recorded last year in government-run health facilities.
The Monday forum, organised by German firm Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW), also heard that thousands of other cases might have gone undocumented.
“Teenage pregnancy is on the increase. There are many reasons that would actually lead to this – one being the poverty index we have in Mombasa,” said Mwaringa.
She said the upsurge in teen pregnancy cases also meant that majority of the girls were forced to drop out of school.
“Some even get married. Children as young as 16-years-old are already married and those are actually minors. They are not supposed to be wives.”
DSW Programmes Manager George Ouma said teenage mothers lacked adequate knowledge on how to raise babies, adding that the probability that they would end up with stunted growth were high due to poor feeding practices, maternal nutrition during pregnancy, poor sanitation and inadequate breastfeeding.
In Mombasa, the rate of stunted growth among children stands at 34 per cent, which is higher than the national level at 26 per cent.
The DSW officials said there was need to engage MCAs to ensure they allocated adequate funds for programmes focused on the families' well-being.
“No one would like to see a stunted child. No one would like to have children who do not perform well in school. No one would like to see children who are underweight. Our main message is to request MCAs to work with us towards investing in nutrition and family planning,” said Ouma.