5 November 2018

Kenya: Finger-Pointing as Kilifi Reports 14,000 Teen Pregnancies

Photo: The Citizen Tanzania
A pregnant student (file photo).

Some 13,624 pregnancies were reported in Kilifi County this year, among school children aged 15 to 19, a report by the children's affairs department states.

The revelation is amid reports of many cases of pregnancy among candidates writing their national primary and secondary school examinations.

THE NUMBERS

County Children's Affairs Coordinator, George Migosi, reported that Kilifi North Sub-county was in the lead with 3,134 cases.

Magarini followed with 2,861 and then came Kaloleni with 2,180.

Speaking to the Nation by phone from Naivasha, Mr Migosi said the number has steadily risen over the years. He attributed this to negligence by parents.

"Kilifi South and Malindi had 1,771 cases each while Ganze and Rabai had 1,362 and 545 cases respectively," he said.

"The report is based on compiled county health department records."

"ALARMING TREND"

The children's officer said an additional 290 cases were reported among girls aged between 10-14 years.

"This is an alarming trend since we are talking about close to 14,000 cases of teenage pregnancies which have been reported in one year in the county," he added.

Mr Migosi warned parents who do not report cases of early pregnancies, saying they risk being arrested and prosecuted for irresponsibility.

Ms Helda Esliy, a Malindi activist on issues of gender-based violence (GBV), noted that parents have linked the matter of teen pregnancies to poverty.

"Most parents say their daughters fall victim of sex-preying adults for money since they are unable to afford some of their necessities," she said.

STREET ABORTIONS

Sauti ya Wanawake Chief Executive Officer Joyce Dama Kambi said mothers are to blame.

Ms Kambi explained that most of those in the rural areas of Magarini push their daughters to visit local medicine men for abortions after having sex to feed their families.

"It may seem weird but that is what our mothers do to their daughters after hearing that they are pregnant. We came across a case in which a mother took her 15-year-old child to a medicine man so he could apply some medicine on her stomach," she said.

Ms Kambi the medicine men have been turned into 'doctors' who carry out street abortions.

"We are following up on a case in which a girl was taken to medicine man for an abortion which backfired so she was taken to hospital," she said.

She added that some of the girls are raped during events such as 'disco matangas'.

EARLY MARRIAGE

Last week, two Magarini candidates missed the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations as they got married.

Magarini Deputy County Commissioner Simon Lokorio said locals claim that the two girls from Kaembeni Primary School married men from nearby villages.

"The girls did not turn up for the examinations and could not be traced," he said.

One of their teachers, who sought anonymity for fear of victimisation by her bosses, said the girls aged between 15 and 17 developed a negative attitude towards education.

"They rarely attended school and were too rude to their teachers," he told the Nation by phone. " They viewed school assignments and home work as a total waste of time."

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