Third wave of pandemic will multiply challenges for pregnant teens in Kenya

Third wave of pandemic will multiply challenges for pregnant teens in Kenya

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BY DORIS KATHIA

Various communities in our country still have the misconception that it is taboo to talk about sex with young people. It seems communication breakdown between parents and their children exacerbates the problem. I believe lack of parental guidance and role models are the leading causes of teenage pregnancy.

Carrying a pregnancy to term not only creates physiological changes, many teenagers also go through postpartum depression, psychological changes, stress due to sleepless nights, arranging child care, making doctor’s appointments and attempting to finish high school. 

Preeclampsias, anemia, contracting STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), premature delivery, delivering at low birth weight, are just a few health impacts that a pregnant teen may face.

Furthermore, being teens and most of them still in school, these girls are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed. This may lead to a perpetual cycle of poverty for teenage mothers, their children, and their children’s children. 

Aside from a second time countrywide school closure, the third wave of the COVID19 pandemic has put further strain on the healthcare system, leading to the disruption of healthcare services, deprioritization of sexual and reproductive health services and shortage of contraceptive commodities and essential drugs.

All these could lead to a rise in more cases of teenage pregnancies. We call upon leaders to institute policy measures that ensure sexual and reproductive health services are accessible and affordable for all at this critical time.

Ms. Doris Kathia NAYA Kenya Youth advocate