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Teenage mums risk dying during delivery

The number of gymslip mums continues to rise, with 36 per cent of the 19-year-olds in Kenya having already had children.

An increasing number of children are being born to very young mothers who are at high risk of death because of limited access to health care.

Less than 10 per cent of Kenyan girls had started having babies by the age of 16, but these numbers have since increased to 17 per cent for 17-year-olds and 36 per cent for the 19-year-olds, according to a recent Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS).

Rise

Early sex has also been on the rise, with statistics from the Kenya National Bureau and the KDHS showing that 37 per cent of girls and 44 per cent of boys aged 15-19 years already have had sex.

Out of these, 13 per cent of girls and nine per cent of the boys were reported to be sexually active.

Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that about 16 million girls aged 15-19 years give birth each year.

Complications from pregnancy and childbirth continue to be the leading cause of death among adolescent girls aged 15-19 years in low and middle-income countries.

Such high fertility rates among adolescents has caused high school dropout rates, with early marriages and childbearing being the top two causes.

Lack information

According to the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development, the high fertility rates among adolescents can be attributed to lack of access to health information and services and early sex.