Bungoma, Kenya – The alarming rate of teenage pregnancies has become a pressing concern in Bungoma County, with the deputy governor publicly addressing the issue.
According to Kenya News Agency, St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Chesikaki ward, Mt Elgon Constituency, has reported 54 cases of teenage pregnancies this year alone. The detailed figures indicate 31 teen mothers, 20 currently pregnant students, and three who have had to leave school.
Deputy Governor Pastor Jennipher Mbatiany, who represents the Mt Elgon region, has highlighted the prevalence of these cases near forests adjacent to schools. In a press briefing on Tuesday, she acknowledged that the County government has initiated a sensitization campaign targeted at schoolgirls during the long holiday period.
Mbatiany confirmed the collaboration between her office, various non-governmental organizations, and the national government to conduct comprehensive surveys in Bungoma’s schools to unearth the fundamental causes behind this disturbing pattern.
In an impassioned statement, the deputy governor expressed her determination to address the issue, stating, “Bungoma is now on the map for the wrong reasons and my office and the gender department will not rest until we find out what is wrong in our schools.” She urged the national government to combine efforts with the County to devise effective solutions.
The deputy governor also pointed out that the majority of teenage pregnancy cases occur in day schools, where girls are vulnerable to exploitation during their commute.
The Ministry of Health’s findings further illuminate the gravity of the situation. In 2021, the county recorded a total of 14,054 pregnancies among teenagers, with 596 girls aged between 10 to 14 years, and 13,458 between 15 to 19 years. The following year, the figures slightly declined to 12,103 combined cases for the same age groups. However, the current year’s data, covering January to July, already shows 196 pregnant girls in the 10-14 age group, and 7,270 in the 15-19 age group, signaling an ongoing crisis.