Teenage pregnancy is both a public health and education problem in Kisumu County and has reached alarming levels. According to Plan International Kenya, teenage pregnancy in Kisumu County has gone up from 22% to 42%. Kisumu west Sub County and Seme Sub County are the hot spots for teenage pregnancy in Kisumu County.
25% of teenagers in Kisumu County reported to have had sex before the age of 15 years and 80% of teenage pregnancies occur in primary school. Moreover, 42% of teenage girls have been forced to drop out of school due to unintended pregnancy. Furthermore adults between the ages of 20 to 30 years more so the bodaboda operators are responsible for 50% of all the pregnancies.
Teenage pregnancy in Kisumu is more rampant in rural areas where there is poverty, gender inequality, lack of sexual and reproductive health information and services and lack of comprehensive sexuality education.
Teenage pregnancy is a violation of human rights and should be stopped because it is killing the dreams of so many young girls making them have limited future. I believe that no child should bear a child and that girls are meant to change the world and not diapers.
Despite the government launching the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy (2015) which emphasizes access to comprehensive sexuality education and adolescent-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services, Comprehensive sexuality education is not offered in schools as a national programme despite global evidence pointing to its effectiveness in empowering adolescents to make informed decisions about their sexuality and sexual health.
There is need to introduce age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education in primary schools since they are the most affected and no one is paying attention. Much attention has been focused to secondary schools where the rate of teenage pregnancy stands at 20%.Adolescent girls are not too young to be in need of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services. I believe that once an adolescent girl is equipped with sexual reproductive health and rights information, she can decide when and whom to have children with.
I call upon the ministry of education together with the ministry of health and the county government of Kisumu County to work hand in hand and ensure that the national adolescent sexual and reproductive health policy of 2015 and other policies that policies and laws that revolve around adolescents’ health are implemented to the latter.
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