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Early pregnancies a big burden to Kenya

By Vincent Ogaya | July 15th 2016

The theme for this year’s World Population Day celebrated on Monday was timely.

Themed ‘Investing in Adolescent Girls’, the day came hot on the heels of increased cases of teenage pregnancies, with majority of those affected being primary and secondary school girls.

Just recently, a media exposé revealed how mothers are taking their young daughters for family planning. The practice is seemingly taking root in the society because parents are running out of options; they need to stop their daughters from getting pregnant so they can finish school.

These parents realised unsafe sex is almost a guarantee their daughters will get pregnant, especially because they are in their best reproductive years.

Contraception may not be the conventional route for many. However, we would agree it is the best way to contain the rising cases of teenage pregnancies that are threatening to get out of hand. Many parents and young people prefer contraception, but they wouldn’t talk about it openly for fear of victimisation.

Young people, especially girls, face many reproductive health challenges as they go through puberty. In some communities, these girls are married off. Yet, these sexually active adolescents are never empowered to make informed decisions.

Teenage pregnancies also contribute immensely to Kenya’s high population growth rate. Ministry of Health reports show most early pregnancies are the main cause of death among adolescents.

The burden of failing to invest in teenagers is evident. A high population means more people to be taken care of with minimal resources. It gets even worse if their parents are not contributing to the economy. It also places a huge burden on the already burdened health sector.

Resources that could be used to grow the economy are channelled to adolescent mothers who sometimes develop complications in the course of pregnancy, childbirth or unsafe abortion.

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