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Amina now orders audit of teenage pregnancy crisis

By Augustine Oduor | Published Thu, November 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated November 7th 2018 at 22:55 GMT +3
A student sits a KCSE paper at Makueni Level 4 Hospital, in Makueni County, yesterday. [Stephen Nzioka, Standard]

Analysis of available data reveals alarming statistics that may have put your girl-child under siege, even as Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed ordered an audit of all pregnant girls in school.

It is now emerging that the country could be staring at a bigger problem, with Government data putting the county with highest pregnancy prevalence rate at 40 per cent.

ALSO READ: Second chance for teen mothers

Highest burden

The latest Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) says Narok County has the highest burden of teenage pregnancies and motherhood in Kenya.

Interestingly, Kitui County, which announced some 110 candidates sitting this year’s Form Four examinations are pregnant, has been ranked in position 30 with a prevalence rate of 14 per cent.

This means that more teenage pregnancy cases may not have been reported countrywide, even as the teachers’ employer accused parents and teachers of colluding to cover up cases.

According to the KDHS data, Homa Bay County ranks second with a prevalence rate of 33 per cent, followed by West Pokot (29), Tana River (28) and Nyamira (28), closing the top five.

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Samburu County ranks sixth with 26 per cent prevalence rate, with Migori, Kwale and Bomet each registering 24 per cent. Trans Nzoia closes the top 10 category with a prevalence rate of 23 per cent.

Least affected

Further details reveal that Murang’a and Nyeri are least affected, with a six per cent prevalence rate.

ALSO READ: Village girls start having sex in Form Two- Report

Embu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nyandarua have prevalence rates of seven, eight and nine per cent respectively.

What is, however, shocking is the revelation that one in every five schoolgirls gets pregnant by the age of 20.

This means your daughter is highly likely to get pregnant before sitting her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) or Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.

Speaking last week when she oversaw administration of KCPE papers, Amina said some nine candidates gave birth during the examination period.

“If this is happening all year round, then the country could be facing a crisis,” said Amina, as she instructed regional coordinators of education and county directors of education to collect data.

Parents yesterday expressed outrage over the rising pregnancy cases even as they shared blame and directed anger at the Ministry of Education’s quality assurance office.

Kenya National Association of Parents National Chairman Nicholas Miyo accused parents of failing in their responsibilities to talk about sex with children.

ALSO READ: The KCPE that was: Births, arrests and a drunken head teacher

He expressed shock at the ministry for finding out about sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy in schools only during examinations, yet the learners had been pregnant for nine months.

“Where are the quality assurance teams? Why have they not given the CS a report to inform action?” posed Maiyo.

Data displayed on the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD), however, reveals that between July 2016 and June last year, 378,397 pregnant girls aged between 10 and 19 were presented in health facilities in all the 47 counties.

The report that puts the national teenage prevalence rate at 18 per cent says some counties are more disproportionately affected than others.

UN reports

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 28,932 girls aged 10 to 14, and another 349,465 aged 15 to 19, became pregnant over the same period.

Broken down, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) says last year alone, some 13,894 teenage girls were pregnant in Kisumu County alone.

Maiyo said parents have left sex education to social media and there are people who have taken advantage of the gap. “We have also learnt that teachers are the worst perpetrators of sexual acts in schools,” he said.

Data from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) shows that in 2015, some 126 teachers were struck off the teaching roll for various vices, including sexual offences.

ALSO READ: Why guardians can be locked up for exam cheating

TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia accused parents and teachers of engaging in massive cover-up to defeat justice.

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion faulted the society for eroded morals. “But we must also call out quality assurance officials. Have these cases been happening behind their backs?” said Mr Sossion.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association National Chairman Kahi Indimuli called for fair approach in punishing culprits, saying some girls were victims of a rotten community.


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