COVID-19 and idleness fuel rise in Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy in kenya
Some of the pregnant pupils PHOTO : ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

Behind every teenage pregnancy is an untold story of poverty,defilement, or early marriage that eats up the mind of the girl who can no longer pursue her dreams – By Faith Mutete

According to statistics close to 4,000 school girls were impregnated in Kenya during the COVID-19 containment measures. Even more disturbing figure of 3,964 girls were impregnated in Machakos county in a period of five months.

IS COVID -19 TO BLAME?

The worldwide pandemic that has brought life to a standstill, has contributed greatly to the increase in teenage pregnancy and here is how;

a.   An idle mind is the devils workshop

With schools closed, students often find themselves free and with zero activities going on, so the best they can do is spend time with their friends.

If you mind taking a stroll on the estates we live in the number of teenage girls and boys idling around is alarming.

Due to being idle and having no responsibility whatsoever, teens find themselves abusing drugs and sexual interactions, ending up as young parents.

b.   Increase in defilement cases

Even if your child is not out and about, the idea of that neighborhood teen staying at home could be a dangerous tale of defilement.

Children have found themselves in the hands of relatives or other members of the society who take advantage of them and walk free with no action taken towards them.

c.   Increase in poverty and access to services reduced

Covid-19 restrictions have exposed several families without a way of earning a living, leaving young girls, especially in the rural areas to sell their bodies in exchange for food or money.

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Access to safe abortion and contraceptive facilities have proven to be expensive, forcing young families to keep their baby.

What can be done

As the government bids to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, policies and measures should be taken to ensure that it does not limit access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.

It should ensure that positive sex education is offered to children as part of the studies that take place on online platforms.

Parents should also be directed to expose their children to sex education, and responsibilities in order to keep them busy.

As the world marks International Youth Day, the government should take strict and heavy action on all defilement cases, and monitor anyone who poses as a threat to the life of a child.