Teenage pregnancies; could this be another pandemic?

The abrupt increase in teenage pregnancy seems to have gone out of control when the novel coronavirus kicked in early this year. According to the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) analysis, Nairobi County takes the lead with 11,795 reported cases of teenage pregnancies in the period Jan – May 2020. Kakamega County comes second with 6, 686 cases whereas Muranga County comes last with 2, 419 cases. The emerging of Covid- 19 was given so much attention that the degree of concern for our children’s welfare drastically reduced.

One of the safety measures in curbing Covid 19 advocates for social distancing thereby introducing online as the new norm. As schools closed, online learning became the order of the day. The internet has proven to be of great importance during this pandemic albeit, our children are likely to get exposed to pornographic content if caution is not taken. If banning pornography will reduce incidences of teenage pregnancy as stated by Education Secretary, Prof.George Magoha then it should be put into immediate effect.

Apart from pornographic materials, the online space has more harmful content susceptible to our teens. Uncensored materials are also a risk to our children. Some children access movies and shows online with sexual content that promote sex among teenagers. Moreover, some movies portray teen pregnancy seem right and okay.

The same place that we take refuge in ‘home sweet home’ is no longer safe for our children. Relatives are defiling their own blood and everyone goes speechless to protect the family’s image. The justice systems appears to be deep asleep too. Some police officers are accepting bribes from the culprits instead of helping us fight this pandemic of teenage pregnancy.

In addition, absent parenting should be highly discouraged during this season. Parents and guardians to school – children should ensure that they are actively involved in their children’s life. They should give proper guidance, correct and monitor their whereabouts to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Furthermore, darkness is friendlier to defilement cases so why not administer curfew to your child.

Teenage pregnancy can lead to adverse conditions such as still – births and a high risk of infant mortality which is as a result of health complications to the teen mothers. Stigma, rejection or violence by the partners, parents, and peers is related to teen pregnancy as well.

‘Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world, ‘ a famous quote by the late Nelson Mandela. How then will our children fulfill this dream if we do not take this issue seriously. Failure to respond actively to this acute situation will result to more drop- outs in schools and in the end poor a social economy.

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