Home NEWS County News NCPD reports drop in teenage pregnancies countrywide

NCPD reports drop in teenage pregnancies countrywide

National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) Director of Corporate Services Margaret Muthoni

The National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) has reported a positive trend in the reduction of teenage pregnancies across the country.

According to NCPD Director General Dr. Mohamed Sheikh, there has been a decrease from 18pc in 2021 to 15 pc in 2022 on a national scale.

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Addressing a workshop in Nanyuki town, where commitments made during the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) were under review, Dr. Sheikh said that while the overall numbers were encouraging, there were significant variations among different counties.

Dr. Sheikh highlighted the varying rates, citing Samburu with an alarming 50.1 percent of adolescents experiencing pregnancy or having given birth, in stark contrast to Nyeri, which reported a significantly lower rate of 4.5 percent.

Laikipia County, in particular, faced persistent challenges, maintaining a high teenage pregnancy rate of 9 percent. Dr. Sheikh pointed out that a concerning quarter of all pregnancies in the county between 2016 and 2022 occurred among adolescents aged 10-19.

In 2022 alone, 260 adolescents aged 10-14 from Laikipia were reported to have presented with pregnancies at their first Ante Natal Clinic (ANC) visit, constituting 18 percent of all pregnancies in the county.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that early childbearing, especially among girls aged 10-14, remains a leading cause of maternal deaths worldwide. The Kenyan 2019 census reported a maternal mortality rate of 464 deaths per 100,000 live births among girls aged 15-19 years.

Laikipia East Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Patrick Muli, who inaugurated the workshop, urged participants to adopt an active role in eradicating teenage pregnancies and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Muli called for a comprehensive and collaborative approach in the fight against these vices, suggesting a potential review of strategies, including the incorporation of technology in outreach efforts.

Lucky Nanunyak from Pathways Policy Institute, an organization supporting teenage mothers in their return to school after childbirth, emphasized the importance of involving teenagers and youth in the policy-making process.

Namunyak advocated for engaging with the affected demographic directly to understand their perspectives and sought the input of parents and guardians to ensure a holistic and inclusive approach to policy development.

The one-day workshop brought together participants from the National and County governments, Civil Society Organizations, health officials, and members of Non-Governmental Organizations, emphasized the collaborative effort required to address the issue of teenage pregnancy in the country.

Gene Gituku
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