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Alarm as cases of pregnant teens rise

By Phares Mutembei | April 2nd 2021

A section of participants during a reproductive health workshop organised by Meru County Reproductive Health Department. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

There is a concern in Meru County following the increasing cases of teenagers coming for antenatal care at the Maua Methodist Hospital. Most of them are in their second trimester.

The hospital which serves mainly the miraa-growing sub-counties of Igembe in Meru attended to 183 children between August and March 19 this year, according to Florence Muthusi, a nursing officer at the hospital’s reproductive health unit.

Ms Muthusi said the girls who sought services at the hospital during this period had no money to pay for the services and could not keep appointments for the next visit as is required.

Among the teenagers who gave birth at the hospital were a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old. Nine of the mothers were 15 years old, while 40 were aged 16. “The (gynecology) unit provided care for three teenagers who had been admitted with complete abortion.”

Speaking during a stakeholders’ forum organised by the County Health Department, Muthusi said most of the children who delivered at the facility were in primary school.

“Some came needing emergency interventions and needed consent signing which became a challenge,” she said.

Ms Muthusi said between August 2020 and March 19, 2021, 183 teenage mothers aged between 15 and 19 were seen at the clinic.“Majority were from primary school and others were in secondary schools while a few were university students.”

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Muthusi said some had already dropped out of school and ended up in early marriages “to probably escape the poverty situation at home.”

She added: “The average deliveries per month is usually 120 to 160 per month. The total number of teenage deliveries between August and March was 156,” she said.

County Medical Services Director Koome Muthuri said a technical working group had been formed to address the problem.

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