Pregnancy rates among school going girls in Kajiado could be the highest in the country, according to county director of education, Shamsa Adan.
Kajiado Education Director Ms Shamsa Adan(Fifth from left) in a security briefing.
However, Adan told KNU in an interview on Friday that no delivery of babies was recorded during this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination.
“We did not record any deliveries during the three-day examination unlike in the previous years. Otherwise pregnancies among school-going girls are at a sorry state in Kajiado. It is strikingly high among primary and secondary school girls,” said Adan.
She went on; “This vice is not common in towns or urban areas but very common in the interior of Matapato South, Maparasha, Meto, Mailua, Sera, interior of Loitokitok, Mashuuru and Kajiado West.”
The director emphasized that girls, in the rural areas where moranism is still rampant, are impregnated at tender age unlike in urban centres.
County Commissioner David Kipkemei has for the last one year been single-handedly fighting vices that impede education of girl child among them; female genital mutilation and early marriages in communities.
Kipkemei has taken the role of a pastor in a society that appears to be deeply entrenched in traditions that negate the development and education of girls.
One day before the start of this year’s KCPE, a 14 year old pupil at Sera Primary School was married off by her parents to a man in Matapato South Ward in total disregard of her right to sit the examination.
The commissioner led police officers to rescue the girl from her supposed husband and ensured she sat for her final exam.
Even as Adan is shocked by the amazing rising trend in pregnancies among teenage girls in schools, a study by Ministry of Health reveals that girls in the village start having children at an early age.
They get married off at an average age of 20, the study indicates.
The study also showed the majority do not use contraceptives until they are 22 years old as girls in urban centres were said to start having sex after completing secondary school.
The report comes in the backdrop of pregnancies in exam rooms during KCPE.
Nearly 30 pupils gave birth during the examination. The cases were spread across the country.
Some girls were also rescued while cohabiting with men. In July, education officials were investigating how nine girls from Matutu PAG Mixed Secondary School became pregnant in three months.
Our agencies visited the school and spoke to some of the effected girls, one of whom had already given birth. “I just don’t know how it happened. It was a first attempt and now I am pregnant,” the girl said.
The Ministry of Health report, conducted by the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020), stated that girls in towns break their virginity at 18.4 years and start using contraceptives at 21.9 years.
The PMA2020 is an independent project that has since 2014 tracked contraceptive use and family planning in Kenya. It is supported by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Health ministry, NGOs and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The results were released at the second International Conference on Maternal, New-born and Child Health in Nairobi. PMA2020 principal investigator Peter Gichangi said, “The gap between first sex and first contraceptive use among rural women is six years and 3.5 years for urban women.”
Researchers interviewed 5,876 girls and women between November-December 2017. They sampled 151 enumeration areas drawn by KNBS.
The study called for effective plans to improve access to contraceptives information for girls aged between 15-24.
It shows only 35 per cent of girls aged between 15-24 use contraceptives from public health facilities.
Public health facilities are required to offer the services to adolescents but the girls are turned away as they are considered too young. Last year, the government increased the contraceptive budget to Sh700 million.