Youth Friendly Services Key To Tackling Teenage Pregancies in Homa Bay
Category : Naya Blog
By Mackiche Mackiche @mackiche_victor
Homa Bay County has a youthful population with people below age 15 making up nearly half (48%) of the total population.
Teenage pregnancy has remained a major health and social concern because it’s highly associated with high maternal and child morbidity and mortality. In Homa bay, teenage pregnancy is not only a reproductive health issue, but is also an all rounded issue as it directly affects the current and future socio-economic well-being of women.
According to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014, 33% of girls aged 15-19 years in Homa Bay County have begun childbearing this is considerably higher than the national level, specifically, 2.1% are pregnant with their first child and 31.2% have ever given birth, compared to 3.4% and 14.7%, respectively, at the national level.
Homa Bay County’s age specific fertility rate for girls aged 15-19 (adolescent birth rate) is 178 births per 1000 girls; about 2 times higher than at the national level of 96.
Teenage pregnancies often result from low use of contraceptives and/or unmet need for contraceptives. In Homa Bay County, 3 in 5 (56%) currently married girls aged 15-19 use modern contraceptives which is high compared to 2 in 5 (37%) at national level.
There is still an unmet need for contraceptives among currently married girls in Homa Bay. About 1 in 10 (11%) currently married girls aged 15-19 would like to avoid pregnancy but they are not using a modern contraceptive method compared to 23% at national level.
This means that between 20 and 30% of never married young people in the region did not use a condom during their last sexual encounter. This is a particular concern given the high HIV prevalence in the region.
There is thus need to invest in contraceptives and family planning for young people to reduce teenage pregnancy, ensuing unsafe abortions and maternal mortality and tackle issues of poverty.
The author is a Youth Advocate based in Homa Bay County.
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