Address teen pregnancy 'epidemic' more seriously

Some of the teenagers who got pregnant during the 2020 Covid-19 school closure period. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The risk of new HIV infections among teenagers is likely to go up as teenage pregnancies rise. A report by the National Syndemic Diseases Control Council says at least 41 per cent of all new HIV infections in the country occur among adolescents and young people aged between 15 and 24 years. The data reveals that about 3,244 new HIV infections occurred among adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years during the period of survey.

The report further shows that about 714 girls get impregnated daily across the country. Such indiscretions expose them to higher risks of HIV infections. 

In 2022, at least 260,734 adolescent pregnancies were reported among girls aged between 10 and 18 years. In 2021, there were 316,187 cases of reported pregnancies. Between January and May 2023, a total of 110,821 girls aged between 10 and 19 years got pregnant.

These gloomy statistics should make all right thinking Kenyans to sit up and try to determine where the rain started to beat us as a society. Who, along the moral chain dropped the ball? Is it the government, parents or the religious leaders? What are we not doing right? These are some of the questions that must be answered to reset our moral compass and raise a responsible society full of respect for values.

Circumstances make it right for the government and stakeholders to re-evaluate calls for the introduction of sex education in schools to counter the negative effects of amoral social media and foreign television programmes that corrupt our general view of things.

The Church has for a long time stood against introduction of sex education in schools and allowing girls access to contraceptives. However, it has not given an alternative out of the conundrum society finds itself in.

To keep abreast with modernity and changing times requires that we constantly re-evaluate our beliefs to avoid exposing society to more harm. Let's stop burying our heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich.

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