RISING CASES OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY WORRYING
By Juliet Muthomi
Teenage pregnancy cases on the rise: The high number of teenage pregnancies is not new in Kenya. Over the past years, rising cases have been reported to be high in counties across the country and it has remained so for quite some time now. This has had some negative effects on the young girls who either end up dropping out of schools or failing to sit for national examinations.
Currently, it appears teenage pregnancy has been normalized in the country and it no longer comes as a shock when you hear of a young girl who is expectant. To justify it further, you’ll always hear people talk about how that is not the first case they’ve heard and further go ahead to even mention and refer to other young girls who have been in the same situation.
A lot of factors contribute to this issue including technology and social media, peer pressure, sexual assault, poverty, forced and early marriages, lack of positive family interactions, ignorance, and little knowledge on sexual health reproduction.
Today, discussing matters concerning sexual health might seem taboo or something that one is not allowed to talk about. For instance, there are very few chances, of parents who sit down to talk to their adolescent children on such topics.
It is at this age that these adolescents get curious, with little or no knowledge, there arise cases of teenage pregnancy due to the desire and curiosity to know more.
Also, it becomes hard for teenagers to communicate in a hostile environment. For instance, harsh and too strict parents might make them fear to openly speak about their problems, or in some cases you find that parents never have time for their kids, they are always busy with work and probably get home late when their children are asleep and there is literally no time for communication and bonding.
Pressure from peers and social media is also not something new. Teens try to fit in the society by copying what they see online, from posts, tweets, videos and the type of movies they watch. When it comes to sexual violence, data has it that girls are victims.
This is what result to many cases of rape. Planned marriages occur in some communities and this makes the young girls fail to continue with education. Gone are the days when women and girls were only valued when it comes to bringing up families and perform household chores.
Nowadays, girls have embraced education. It is quite safe to say that, as a society, we have failed, because, if such matters are taken with the significance it requires, numbers on teenage pregnancies could not be persistently rising over the past years.
This in return has a lot of effects including abortions, poverty, deaths among young girls, depression and mental health illness. Advocating end of teenage pregnancy calls upon everyone in the society including parents, teachers, religious leaders, village elders and generally the whole society. There are already developed and existing programs, foundations, and initiatives that highly advocate for teenage pregnancy prevention and offer assistance to first-time mums.
It is high time that we highly educate young adolescents on sexual reproductive health and advise parents on the need to always avail themselves for their kids because they might not be in a position to really know what goes on with their kids when they are not around. In schools, there should be departments for guidance and counseling to create more awareness on teenage pregnancy.
By Juliet Muthoni is a journalism student at KCA University, firstname.lastname@example.org