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New push to fight teenage pregnancies

Reproductive Health - By Anyango Otieno

The youth want to be more engaged in national efforts to end teenage pregnancies.

A youth-led initiative of Amref Health Africa, Sauti Sasa, yesterday decried the high number girls that fall pregnant and those that drop out of school due to pregnancy every year.

According to a report dubbed 'Sauti Sasa Youth Voices Report on teenage pregnancies' launched yesterday, 948 girls get pregnant every day and about 13,000 girls drop out of school. The 670 youth voices from 47 counties gave proposals on how they would like the issue of teenage pregnancies addressed.

Although Sauti Sasa puts the statistics at 948 pregnancies per day, according to the economic survey 2017, 2018 and 2019, the numbers reported show less than 1,000 per year.

Josephine Achieng, 19, said the report aims to point to the importance of engaging the youth in developing effective solutions that teenagers can respond to.

“For a long time, stakeholders have not paid attention to what teenagers really want and we have been treated as children who cannot think. We want the country to realise that we can propose impactful solutions to problems that we ourselves are facing,” Achieng said.

Out of 670 youths who took part, 91 per cent of the responses highlighted the need to have sex education by the wider community beyond provisions in the new education curriculum currently being implemented by the Ministry of Education.

According to them, research has shown that sex education has the most impact when school-based programmes are complemented with the involvement of parents and teachers, religious leaders, training institutes and youth friendly services through community-based approach.

There are reports of a spike in teenage pregnancies across the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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