Narok, Homa Bay and West Pokot top in teen preg­nan­cies

Fer­til­ity rate for girls aged 15-19 in Narok is 225 births per 1,000 girls, more than two times higher than the na­tional level. Only 12% of mar­ried girls use con­tra­cep­tives

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - MONICAH MWANGI @mon­ic­ahmwangi

About one in ev­ery five teenage girls be­tween 15-19 years have ei­ther had a live birth or are preg­nant with their first child, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the United Na­tions Pop­u­la­tion Fund.

Narok county has the high­est num­ber of teenage preg­nan­cies at 40.4 per cent, higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 18 per cent.

“Fer­til­ity rate for girls aged 1519 in Narok is 225 births per 1,000 girls, more than two times higher than the na­tional level, which is 96 and the high­est in the coun­try,” says the re­port. It noted an un­met con­tra­cep­tive need among mar­ried ado­les­cents in Narok.

“Only 12 per cent of mar­ried girls be­tween 15-19 use con­tra­cep­tives, which is three times lower than the na­tional level,” the re­port said.

Other coun­ties with a high num­ber of teenage preg­nan­cies in­clude Homa Bay ( 33.3 per cent), West Pokot ( 28.6 per cent), Tana River ( 28 per cent), Nyamira ( 27 per cent) and Nairobi ( 17.8 per cent). Mu­rang’a has the low­est at six per cent.

UNFPA re­leased the re­port on the state of world pop­u­la­tion yes­ter­day. “We need to ex­ploit the tal­ents of our chil­dren and es­pe­cially girls by stop­ping early preg­nan­cies and mar­riages,” Plan­ning and Sta­tis­tics PS Saitoti Torome said.

PREG­NANCY RATE UN­CHANGED

Teenage preg­nancy rate has re­mained un­changed since 2008, with 18 per cent of the girls get­ting preg­nant be­fore 18 years.

“This im­plies many girls con­tinue to drop out of school and ex­pe­ri­ence health re­lated chal­lenges, in­clud­ing mor­tal­ity and mor­bid­ity due to birth re­lated com­pli­ca­tions and un­safe abor­tion. The girls are in some in­stances forced into early mar­riages,” Na­tional Coun­cil for Pop­u­la­tion and De­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor gen­eral Josephine Kibaru said.

/MONICAH MWANGI

Mary Muthoni, an 18-year-old form four stu­dent at Ak­iba School in Kangemi, with her twom­onth-old baby yes­ter­day. Muthoni will sit her KCSE exam from next week, as she bal­ances stud­ies and par­ent­hood

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