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Covid-19 pandemic: 13,000 girls got pregnant in Narok in 2021

Among the pregnant teenage girls, 1,203 were aged between 10 and 14 years old. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

More than 13,000 girls aged 10 to 18 in Narok got pregnant in 2021 according to the county health department.

The data, which was compiled between January and November last year, represents 27 per cent of the total pregnancies recorded nationally last year.

Speaking during a gender stakeholders meeting held at a Narok hotel, County Health Reproductive Coordinator Chesang Toroitich said the numbers were recorded from the first antenatal clinic visits.

He reported that, among the pregnant teenage girls, 1,203 were aged between 10 and 14 years old while 12,390 were between 16 and 19 years old. The officer said the sub-counties with the highest numbers were Narok south with 3,300 pregnant girls followed by Narok North sub-county with 2500.

Others are Trans Mara West, Narok West, Narok East, and Trans Mara East which had 2380, 2164, 1750, and 1500 pregnant girls respectively. The meeting was chaired by Narok Governor’s wife Sarah Tunai.

Among the teenage mothers, Toroitich said, 1,170 were reported to have suffered complications relating to birth and were treated in the various health centres in the county.

The officer, however, informed the meeting that the numbers had reduced from 15,000 teenage girls that were pregnant in the year 2020.

The health official attributed the high number of underage pregnancies to the Covid-19 pandemic that led to closure of schools in 2020.

At the same time, 19,560 young adults between the age of 20 and 24 were reported pregnant in the year 2021.

“This is an impending crisis since, at the age of 19 to 24, these girls are expected to be in universities and colleges. They have now been made mothers at a tender age. This trend is worrying,” said Toroitich.

Mrs Tunai called for collective responsibility among all government departments to stop teen pregnancy because it was threatening the future of the girl-child.

“I believe that the data given by the health department could just be a drop in the ocean. The number could be higher because not all children give birth in hospitals,” she said.

The meeting also raised concern about the increasing number of girls who suffer complications because of carrying out abortions.

Parents were advised to spend quality time with their teenage daughters, and guide them to become responsible adults.