The Ministry of Health (MoH) recently released a report that places St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Chesikaki Ward, Mt Elgon, on the crisis list having recorded the highest number of teen pregnancies yet – 54 in total.
The report further reveals that 31 of them are teen mothers, 20 are expectant and 3 dropped out due to shame associated with pregnancy.
Bungoma Deputy Governor (DG) Pastor Jennipher Mbatiany is sounding the alarm, blaming the high number on poor parenting.
The deputy governor, who hails from Mt Elgon, says the cases are rampant in schools bordering forests.
Speaking to the press in her office, Mbatiany noted that the county government has embarked on sensitization among the school girls to be more careful during the long December holidays.
She affirmed that her office has partnered with non- government organizations (NGO’s) and the national government to carry out a survey in every school in Bungoma to know the number of school girls and the cause of the alarming number of pregnancies.
“Bungoma is now on the map with a bad history of teen pregnancy. My office and gender department and other key partners are scheduled to conduct a survey in learning institutions to identify what is wrong in schools,” she said.
Mbatiany called on women advisors on gender issues in the Office of the President to visit the affected counties and chart the way forward in addressing the problem.
“Teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence (GBV) has now become a national disaster. I’m appealing to the national government to join hands and fight to reduce the cases,” Mbatiany said.
She noted that the cases are mostly recorded in day schools, adding that the perpetrators take advantage of the girls while on their way home.
The MoH report further indicates that in 2021, girls between the ages 10- 14 who were expectant were 596, which dropped to 341 in 2022 and 196 in 2023.
By Tony Wafula
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