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Reported cases of teenage pregnancies are exaggerated, government says

The government has refuted the alarming numbers of reported teenage pregnancies in the country, saying they are exaggerated and do not reflect the actual statistics.

However, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Mercy Mwangangi on Tuesday admitted that there was an increase of cases of domestic abuse and teenage pregnancies during the partial lockdown in the past three months.

REPORTED CASES

“Having interrogated the data that has been circulating in the media, the Ministry of Health can authoritatively inform the country that the numbers are exaggerated, outrageous and do not reflect the actual statistics,” she said.

Dr Mwangangi said that the actual number of pregnant teenagers is approximately a third of the reported cases.

On the inaccurate data, Dr Mwangangi said that it was due to teenage mothers presenting themselves late in clinics, when the pregnancy is advanced and that the data showcased was extrapolated from the number of antenatal clinic visits which did not represent the numeric count of teenagers presenting to the clinic.

According to the CAS, sexual and reproductive health needs psychosocial support services and protection from Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Last week, Health Director General Patrick Amoth poked holes into claims that there have been 4,000 teenage pregnancies from Machakos since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

UNDER 14 YEARS

Earlier, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha had similarly dismissed the reported number of teenage pregnancies during the Covid-19 period as obnoxious.

He also questioned the source of alarming teenage pregnancy cases among school going girls saying that they could be exaggerated figures by certain bodies targeting donor funding and pushing for inclusion of sex education in the curriculum.

Machakos children’s officer Salome Muthama had reported an increase in teenage pregnancies since the outbreak of Covid-19 claiming that up to 4,000 schoolgirls have been impregnated in the county since March.

The statistics were picked from cases recorded at all Machakos County hospitals.

Muthama further said that most of the pregnancies are as a result of defilement by close family members with about 200 of the affected girls being below 14 years.