Teenage Pregnancies in Kenya: Who is responsible?

A recent report on the number of teenage pregnancies recorded in Kenya this year has sparked a serious discussion online.

Data from Kenya Health Information Systems shows that a total of 152,820 teenage pregnancies have been recorded in the country in just five month – January to May.

The leading counties are: Nairobi (11,734), Kakamega (6,686), Homa Bay (5,932), Nakuru (5,883), and Kajiado (5,834).

teenage pregnancies in kenya
Top 10 counties according to data from Kenya Health Information Systems.

Several leaders have spoken about it with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, whose county is ranked 15th, calling it a national problem.

Mutua said Kenyans should not only bash adults who sleep with underage girls but also address the issue of relationships between two underage individuals.

“While it is true that some girls are impregnated by adults, we also have to accept the reality that many are impregnated by their fellow teenage boys. All around us we see many boys and girls (machali na madem) in relationships, and statistics are now telling us that many of these relationships are not platonic,” Alfred Mutua said.

According to him, lack of sex education is a major contributor of teenage pregnancies. Therefore, a sex education curriculum should be developed and rolled out in schools.

teenage pregnancies in kenya
Data from Kenya Health Information Systems shows that a total of 152,820 teenage pregnancies have been recorded in the country in just five month – January to May. Photo: Courtesy

Kenya Film Classification Board CEO, Ezekiel Mutua, added that vulgar content in the media is also contributing factor.

“We are not saying that dirty content alone is to blame for teenage pregnancies in Kenya, but denying the negative effects of media on our children is to be utterly dishonest… When we condemned the ‘Nikikupea Utawezana’ challenge where young kids were being filmed in the bend over obscenity, we were worried about the negative effects of such content on our youth. Dirty music has a negative influence on our youth. It promotes sexual perversion,” he said.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on his part said that he will push for banning of adult websites.

“I am going to lobby the cabinet, in extension the president, so that they consider changing the law to block information related to pornography from being accessed by all and sundry in this country… Because you see when you are not thinking about sex and them someone opens the pornographic page then you start thinking about it and generating ideas,” Magoha said.

cs george magoha
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha wants adult websites banned. Photo: Courtesy

However, Atheists in Kenya President Harrison Mumia quickly dismissed CS Magoha’s argument.

“Teenagers are getting pregnant because they are having unprotected sex. Banning pornography to stop school girls from getting pregnant is like banning wine glasses to reduce alcoholism… Parents, guardians and the school should go all the way and openly talk to children about sex,” said Mumia in a statement.

Some Kenyans feel like the school closure due to COVID-19 is also another factor as the children are idle at home.

What could have led to the spike in the teenage pregnancy numbers? Do you Support Magoha’s proposal? What’s your take on introduction of sex education in schools?

Join the discussion. Share your views with other in the comment section.

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