By Raisa Okwaras
Kenya Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has called for sustained efforts to conclusively address the issue of teenage pregnancies in the country.
On Wednesday, July 13, 2022, the government of Kenya launched Triple Threat, a community sensitization forum looking to address these three threats facing Kenyan adolescents.
He brought us up to speed while speaking in Nyeri in a forum meant to address the triple threat that is HIV infections, gender-based violence, and pregnancies among teenagers.
According to the health CS, despite the country making major strides, all those efforts are dampened by these three threats facing teenagers.
“Sadly, child motherhood has serious health consequences for girls. Some die while giving birth because their bodies are still too fragile to carry a pregnancy to term and deliver safely. Others experience long-lasting psychological and physical problems,” said Heath CS Mutahi Kagwe.
He added that these three challenges facing Kenyan children disprove the gains that the country has achieved in the education and health sectors. In addition, such challenges not only affect these individuals but also the entire society.
He referred to 2018 when the country attended to a total of 427,135 child pregnancies aged ten to nineteen in the Kenyan health facilities. However, even with things put in place to address teenage pregnancies, Kenya still recorded a whopping 316,187 child mothers of the same age bracket attending antenatal clinics in 2021.
With this, the CS called upon our community leaders to help address the triple threat.
“We must rescue the affected girls and ensure they are taken back to school while building a solid community system that will end these challenges at the county and national levels. The era of looking the other way and letting perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence walk scot-free must end. Let us have constructive community dialogues that provide solutions,” he urged.
Health PS Susan Mochache added on the need to build resilience among our communities to eliminate all forms of violence among children in Kenya.
“We want to build on a country movement that will build resilience across communities to reject all forms of violence against our children; a country where we can see the end of an epidemic that has been with us for close to three decades. This is only possible if we are systematic, deliberate, and consistent with our efforts,” said the PS.