BY ASHA ATIENO
Teenage pregnancy is a global health problem with medical, psychological, social and demographic implications most of which negatively affects the future of teenage girls.
Teen pregnancy is a particularly serious problem in my home county of Migori, especially in Rongo Sub county where many young girls are under antenatal care. The county Government of Migori also seems not in a position of tracing over 1,500 school girls affected during the wave of covid-19 case within the county.
Of the many things emerging from this crisis, one thing that stands out is the lack of parental responsibility to our young girls since issues affecting young girls require concerted efforts.
Parents play a pivotal role of guiding their children and instill moral values in them during this pandemic. Since they are the primary caregivers, they should ensure that youths do not engage in dangerous activities or company which may harm their lives or affect their education.
Parental involvement is necessary for effective teenage pregnancy prevention due to the fact that parenting influence acquisition of behavior and social skills that shape the morality, self-discipline and responsibilities of young girls.
Parental involvement in pregnancy prevention also help to highlight the extent to which communication prevents teenage pregnancy. Parents who share information with their sons and daughters and seek to identify where there is a problem often end up dealing with less cases of teen pregnancy.
According to a recent survey, 66.67% of parents in Migori County said they are not comfortable discussing sexual reproductive health issues with their children and 49% are not very close with their daughter.
Since some girls feel they are not very close with their parents, it’s become very difficult for them to share with the parents even if they conceived or contract sexual transmitted diseases thus causing the high number of sexually transmitted infections in the county.
I am calling upon Ministry of Labor and Social Protection in line with Article 43(1) (e), (f) of the constitution to ensure that every young person has a right to social security and to education.
The children’s department should also seek to equip parents with information to guide parent-teen communication; such as holding Workshops in Rongo sub county, East Kamagambo to improve the quality of parent-teen communication on sexuality issues.
Ms Atieno is a NAYA Youth Advocate in Migori County