Teens and parents to blame for early pregnancies in Kilifi

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A pregnant schoolgirl. PHOTO COURTESY

Hamisi Juma is a mother of six from Kilifi County. Her niece dropped out of school early this year due to pregnancy.

Hamisi says the girl was five months pregnant when they discovered she was expectant.

“These teens are using their little knowledge in the most dangerous way. I blame them for the immoralities and pregnancies in our schools,” Hamisi laments.

According to Hamisi, teenagers have become notorious for ignoring every piece of advice they receive from their parents, guardians and society at large.

“Ignorance is the biggest problem with our children here in the coast region, especially Kilifi county,” she adds.

Former President Mwai Kibaki introduced free primary and secondary Education in the country, unfortunately, most students and pupils from coast region are missing the opportunity to benefit from the free education due to high rate of school drop outs due to teenage pregnancies.

Over the last month coast region counties have been in the headlines for leading in teenage pregnancies, Kilifi County foremost with over 13,000 cases in the year 2018.

In a statement issued early November by Kilifi Children Affairs Coordinator George
Migosi, the recorded pregnancies are among girls aged between 10-19 years.

Why is the number high in the coast region? Who is to blame for these pregnancies?

Poverty

Jonathan Dena is a Bishop in Kilifi County. He holds the view that biting poverty is the root cause of teenage pregnancies in Kilifi County as most teens assume the role of parents by looking for ways to provide food and shelter so as to improve their lives.

“A teenage girl who has no food to eat will find herself in the wrong hands of men who lure them with petty money and finally the girls falling victims. Most teens that are desperate for shelter and school fees will fall trap of this pregnancies,’’ he states.

Child Negligence

Bishop Dena says parents are also to blame for neglecting their children leading to
increase of teenage pregnancies.

He says parents have abdicated their role and instead leave decision making to those teenagers who end up making wrong decisions.

“How can you let your child make decisions in the house? Why should most teenagers be given a lot of freedom that makes them lose focus end up in the wrong track?” poses Bishop Dena.

Stern Action

Some cases of teenage pregnancies are attributed to boda boda riders who lure the girls with lifts, gifts and money and engaging in sexual relationships with schools girls.

Hussein Juma a boda boda operator in Kilifi says the government should investigate and take stern action on the suspects.

“The government should ensure law measures are taken against anybody found guilty of the teen pregnancy,” he says.

Family Planning

Some have thrown the blame to family planning where girls take pills and injections to avoid pregnancies.

A parent in Kilifi, says introducing family planning pills to teenagers is the worst decision any parent would ever make.

“It is unacceptable and will bring more immoralities in our schools since it’s like you have permitted them to have under age sex,” states Fatuma, a parent from Kilifi.

Going back to school

However in his parting shot, Bishop Dena encourages parents to ensure their children go back to school even after giving birth saying leaving them at home only worsens their condition.

“The victims should not be left to stay at home, they should be made to learn through their mistakes,’’ Bishop Dena adds.

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