Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation has challenged leaders seeking elective seats in Ukambani to tackle rising cases of teenage pregnancy, saying it is robbing off the Eastern region future leaders.
The orgnaisation’s National Chairperson, Rahab Muiu also called on parents to reflect back on where they let the ball fall in protecting young girls from falling victims to under-age pregnancies.
She added that it was very unfortunate that the generations the country had high on to be the future leaders were being wiped out by the teenage pregnancy menace.
At the height of the pandemic, schools shut-down to control spread of COVID-19, with the prolonged closure of learning institutions, it came with a lot of challenges among them being a spike in teenage pregnancies.
According to a research done by Kenya Health Information System in 2020, 152,000 Kenyan teenage girls became pregnant which translated to 40%.The survey also indicated that 3,964 girls under the age of 19 were pregnant in Machakos County alone.
MYWO has linked the teenage pregnancy menace in the region to several issues among them poverty, lack of parental guidance, forced marriages and sexual violence.
“There is an urgent need to address poverty as one of the root causes of teenage pregnancy. Men and boys should be engaged as advocates against teenage pregnancy too,” said Muiu.
Underage pregnancies she said is now out of control across the country with the National Council for Population Development (NCPD) survey released November 2021 shows cases of teenage pregnancies among girls aged 15-19 in 2020 and 2021 (Jan- Oct) were also high in Bungoma, Meru, Kakamega, Narok and Nairobi counties.
The event bringing women leaders from eight counties that make up the Eastern region-Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, Meru, Embu, Tharaka, Isiolo and Marsabit also acknowledged key roles played in empowerment fellow women.
They trailblaizing women include CS Prof Margaret Kobia who have stood with MYWO in a huge way, current Chief Justice, Martha Koome –Kenya’s first female Chief Justice, Deputy chief Justice Philomena Mwilu among other leaders who have fought for affirmative action, improved access to water and social health initiatives.