By Raisa Okwaras
The Ministry of Health yesterday released new statistics which reveal that Kenya ranks third-highest in the world in teenage pregnancies. According to the statistics, one in every five women adolescents between the ages of fifteen and nineteen are already teen mothers or are pregnant with their first child.
The statistics also show that on average, about ninety-eight new HIV/AIDS infections were recorded each week among adolescents in the ten to nineteen age brackets in the past year.
The ministry attributes the high rate of HIV/AIDS infections among teenagers and adolescents to adolescent pregnancies, gender plus sexual violence, and new HIV/AIDS infections.
Also, the ministry states that HIV/AIDS stands as a key public health threat among teenagers, adolescents, and the young population in general.
With that, the Ministry of Health together with the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) have statistics that show the high rate of new HIV infections among the young population and teenage pregnancies.
“Kenya has the third-highest teen pregnancies worldwide where one in every five adolescents aged fifteen to nineteen are already mothers or pregnant with their first child,” said Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache.
A previous report done in 2017 revealed that out of 317,000 pregnancies, 67,000 were adolescent pregnancies. Also, the majority of teenage pregnancies fell in the ten to nineteen age brackets.
“We deliver about twelve thousand women every month, and out of these, ten percent are mothers between ten and nineteen years old. In the last year, we have seen almost six thousand teen pregnancies in Nairobi and fifty percent of them end up being HIV positive,” said Dr. Olunga.
The statistics also showed that only nine counties in Kenya contribute to fifty-six percent of the teen pregnancies among adolescents within the ten to fourteen age brackets. These are Bomet, Homabay, Kajiado, Kericho, Kisii, Mandera, Meru, Nairobi, and Narok. Also, thirteen counties, among them Tana River and Kisumu, account seventy-two percent of all the new HIV infections.
This is worrisome since we continue to record many HIV infections among majority of women in the child-bearing age. Also, with adolescents and young adults aged fifteen to twenty-nine comprising sixty-one percent of the new HIV infections, we have a long way to go in ending HIV/AIDS.
This article was first shared by Citizen Digital.